Fanni scrum

Rod Fanni no stranger to rivalries

Rod Fanni no stranger to rivalries

There are fascinating rivalries all over the world of soccer. Matchups that rally an entire city and ignite passions. On this side of the pond, one of the better rivalries in MLS has become the north of the border Clásico, Toronto FC against the Montreal Impact. Recent history has shown us that these two teams often tiptoe the line between dislike and hatred, often crossing over to the latter.

That’s what awaits French center back Rod Fanni, who recently joined the Impact.

“I’ve been told it’s a very important matchup,” said Fanni. “I think we have to take them very seriously. We’ve seen some of the results they’ve had recently. We have to respect them, but not too much.”

Experience in big games

Fanni is no stranger to intense rivalries. Having spent much of his career with Ligue 1 side Olympique de Marseille, matchups against some of the other French sides – particularly against Olympique de Lyon – can often get heated, as much for the players as for the supporters in the stands.

“I’m familiar with rivalries,” added Fanni. “Back in France, it was the games against Paris or Lyon. I think this will be the same style of game. That’s why I know how important this game is, not just on the field but with everything going on around the field as well. We’ll have to be at our best and get a win.”

This will be Fanni’s first encounter with the Impact’s supporters as well, a few days after signing his contract with the Bleu-blanc-noir. He was available but not called upon during the game against Columbus, although he’s had the opportunity to put in a few training sessions with fellow center back Víctor Cabrera since then.

“We’ve trained together quite a few times now,” said Fanni. “I speak a little Spanish too so we’re getting along just fine. I’m excited to play, to talk with the fans. It will only be my first experience at home, but I’m sure we’re going to have nice adventures together.”

The home opener will take place this Saturday at 3pm, at Olympic Stadium, against Toronto FC. Excellent tickets are still available here. The team will then travel to Seattle to face the Sounders FC on March 31 after the international break.