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Impact sign former Italian international Matteo Ferrari

The Montreal Impact are looking to former Italian international Matteo Ferrari to add some style to their central defence.

The Major League Soccer expansion team announced Thursday it has signed 32-year-old Ferrari, who spent the last two seasons playing in Turkey.

Before that, he played in Italy for Inter Milan, Parma and AS Roma.

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Ferrari has been with the Impact in training camp since Feb. 14 under an agreement in which he and the team would look each other over and decide whether to sign a deal.

Despite his resume, which includes 11 appearances for Italy and trips to the 2000 and 2004 Olympics and Euro 2004, he is not a designated player, or one who earns more than the league maximum of $350,000 per season.

Team president Joey Saputo and technical director Nick De Santis invited Ferrari to camp after a chance meeting during a recent scouting trip to Italy.

The Algerian-born Ferrari looked fit and played well in two matches this week at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic pre-season tournament in Orlando, Fla.

"I'm very happy for this opportunity to play an important role with the Impact in its inaugural season," Ferrari said in a statement. "I hope to help this team progress and succeed in its first campaign in MLS.

"I've only been here a short time, but I'm happy with the organization. The coaches and the players have been great to me."

The signing came on the day that another former Italian international, six-foot-two striker Bernardo Corradi, began a tryout with the Impact in Orlando. The 35-year-old known as much for on-field discipline issues as for his scoring touch has played for Lazio, Valencia and Parma in Italy and spent the 2006-07 season with Manchester City, where he was used sparingly.

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Ferrari will be added to the roster upon receipt of his international transfer certificate.

"We are extremely pleased to add a player of this quality to our team," said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch. "He has already fit into our group in a very good way and we believe that his experience and leadership make us stronger."

Ferrari spent the last two seasons with Turkish first division club Besiktas, winning last year's Turkish Cup in 2011.

He played in more than 200 games in Italy's Serie A, winning two Italian Cups and one Italian Super Cup. The six-foot-one sweeper has played 22 Champions League games, 19 as a starter, and played 21 UEFA Cup matches.

Ferrari also played eight games on loan with English Premier League side Everton in 2005-2006.

The Impact plays its first MLS game on March 10 in Vancouver. Their home opener is March 17 at Olympic Stadium against the Chicago Fire.

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