Stade Saputo takes a break from MLS on the weekend 21-23 June. That’s when the city will host its Legends of Soccer Weekend, the highlight of which is a game between Brazilian Legends led by Ronaldinho (39), and Montreal Impact Legends, under the tutelage of former bleu/blanc/noir captain, Patrice Bernier.
It will be Ronaldinho’s second visit to Montreal. The last time almost 9 years ago, 47, 861 people saw him score for AC Milan in an exhibition match against the Impact, which the Italians won 4-1.
The twice former FIFA World Player of theYear, and 2002 World Cup winner will be bringing some friends for the occasion, all retired players who keep in shape playing the Legends circuit.
Not all names are known at this stage. There will be further announcements, but those expected to make the trip include Julio Cesar and Juan who had 10 distinguished years in Europe with Bayer Leverkusen and Roma, where he won the Coppa Italia.
Juan also scored the winning penalty for Brazil in the Copa America Final over Argentina in Lima in 2004, one of two Copa Americas he won.
This player is of particular interest to Patrice Bernier ....
“Yeah, it’s a bit like going full circle. Back in 1995 at the FIFA u17 World Cup in Ecuador, I faced Juan in the group stages. Brazil defeated us 2-0. He doesn’t know that, but I will be able to tell him we both played Canada v Brazil. Now it looks like I will face him playing for my city, as well as my country,” said the former Impact captain, still too modest to mention he scored Canada’s only goal in that particular tournament.
Asked how it will be to face Ronaldinho in Montreal, Bernier’s comments reflected his admiration for the Brazilian former superstar.
“Ahh look it is just a factor to be on the field next to him. You had told me a few years ago I’d play along with Drogba, Di Vaio, Nesta in my own team, made possible through MLS, and now to say I can play a game against a world star, because for me Ronaldinho is a guy who has changed the game. He was the creme de la creme.”
“And I know he plays these games, so he keeps himself in shape.”
On the Impact side in addition to Bernier, fans will again get the chance to see many favourites from the past, don the cleats (at least) one more time: Marco Di Vaio, Hassoun Camara, Justin Mapp, Cameron Porter, Patrick Leduc, Nevio Pizzolito Gabriel Gervais, Jeb Brovsky and Eduardo Sebrango.
Didier Drogba was extended an invitation, but the Impact’s former #12 will not be present due to other commitments.
The event is intended to be an annual one and provide Montreal with the opportunity to shine as a soccer city in the build up to World Cup hosting in North America in 2026. Bernier added ...
“If I take the words of Kevin Gilmore that the Impact has to shine more in terms of MLS, then Montreal needs to shine more also in terms of soccer. We know we love soccer in this city.
The community has always been present for local games or international games, now it’s a bit of a connection between the local club and international soccer to have a star like Ronaldinho come and play, and to show that we are on the soccer-stage so everyone can connect and do these events regularly.
So not only for 2026, but a chance to show that Montreal is a part of the world of soccer. That the global game can be played here, just as it can in Rio, Sao Paulo, Milan and Paris. This city has the culture of soccer. It just has to go out there and shine, and this event can help.”
The game will kick-off at 1700 hrs, and tickets for the event can be purchased here: https://montrealsoccerfest.com/
Montreal Impact Members will have priority access to their seats at Stade Saputo, as well as a 20% discount for the event. This offer expires on Wednesday, May 1, at 5pm, via the “Offers” tab in your IMFC Portal.
More announcements will follow from the organizers, Groupe 3737, further confirming both rosters and details of the weekend’s overall events.