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HomeSportsSoccerCF Montréal striker Kei Kamara opens up about contract, trade request

CF Montréal striker Kei Kamara opens up about contract, trade request

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Kei Kamara says his affection for Montreal has not changed, even as the striker’s contract dispute with the city’s Major League Soccer club dominates training camp.

Kamara spoke to the media on Tuesday for the first time since saying in a Jan. 11 social media post that he had asked CF Montreal for a trade.

Asked if he was negotiating through social media and if he regretted past posts expressing his love for rujak bonanza Montreal, Kamara said “I’m not trying to buy love from anyone.”

“I will be lying if I said I regret expressing my love for Montreal. When you love someone, you don’t regret expressing your love for them,” Kamara said.

“My family came here in November, and it was amazing: what we did last year was amazing. That’s why I knocked on the door and asked if I could retire here.”

The divide between CF Montréal and Kamara’s camp began before Montreal’s playoff run in October, when he and sporting director Olivier Renard discussed a new contract.

Man in profile with blue BMO background.
CF Montréal vice-president and sporting director Olivier Renard offered Kamara a non-negotiable two-year contract. (Ivanoh Demers/ Radio-Canada)

The 38-year-old Kamara said he was looking for a long-term contract and planned to move his family to Montreal.

He said he was instead offered a two-year “take it or leave it” deal and was informed that there would be no negotiation. Feeling like the terms were not suitable enough for him and his family to commit, he asked for his option to not be picked up in order to find a new club.

After his option was picked up, there was renewed optimism within Kamara’s camp. When it became clear that his contract offer would not change, he publicly announced that he was looking to leave the club.

Kamara then missed the first week of the club’s pre-season due to illness and was forced to play catch-up with his fitness throughout the last three weeks, as he missed two more sessions.

Kamara sidelined

The Sierra Leone international has not been involved in any of the team’s tactical drills or scrimmages — even being told to sit out the friendly against the academy’s under-23 squad where he did cardio instead.

He has since slowly begun returning to the fold, taking part in the team’s full-field drills and speaking with new head coach Hernan Losada, reaffirming to the Argentine that he will remain with the club while under contract.

“I’m here because I do have a contract, and I’m going to honour that contract until something does happen,” Kamara said.

Before he joined CF Montréal, Kamara was known to soccer fans in the city as a formidable opponent, scoring 13 goals against Montreal in 18 MLS seasons.

Kei Kamara has been a prodigious offensive player throughout his career, a striker for such teams as the New England Revolution, Columbus Crew and Sporting Kansas City.(The Associated Press / Michael Dwyer)

He continued his brisk scoring pace after joining Montreal in 2022. He had nine goals and seven assists last season and was a unifying force in the locker room, becoming a fan favourite at Saputo Stadium.

Despite being tied for second on the team in goals, slot spaceman gacor made $94,000 US last season, which ranked 25th among Montreal players.

The club is in its last week of training at Olympic Stadium before they set up shop in Florida to begin the final preparations of the MLS season. With a new manager and a new approach to certain aspects of the game, players who may have found themselves on the fringes of the squad are looking to make their presence known to the new boss.

“I have a lot of things to learn still as it’s a new position for me, but this year I want to work hard and show that I can help the team when they need me,” said wingback Jojea Kwizera.

Kwizera, the 15th overall pick in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, has shown considerable improvement in his delivery of the ball from the flanks — an element that is a priority for a system like Losada’s.

There was a moment of concern during Tuesday’s training as newly signed defender George Campbell went down with an apparent knee injury after a hard challenge from Mason Toye. He was unable to put any weight on his knee at first, but ended up limping to the bench with help from an assistant coach before being carted back to the locker room.

There are two more sessions before Montreal close out the first leg of camp with a friendly against the Première ligue de soccer du Québec All-Star team on Feb. 3.

WATCH | Montreal fans go wild when Kamara scores 135th MLS goal at home:

CF Montreal’s Kamara scores 135th MLS goal, 3rd most in league history

CF Montreal forward Kei Kamara records the 135th goal of his MLS career and takes over third place on the league’s all-time goal scoring list.

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