Toronto FC’s talisman Sebastian Giovinco was sold to Saudi Pro League team Al-Hilal FC. The deal is rumoured to be around the $2 to 3 million mark, however, it’s not the figure of the fee that has grabbed international attention.
The manner of the trade is the real issue here, after all it concluded in relatively unceremonious fashion. Giovinco expressed his distain toward the deal on social media shortly after.
Since Giovinco’s arrival in Toronto, he garnered support in large numbers for the club.
In his first season with the team he captured the 2015 MLS Newcomer of the Year Award, as well as the Most Valuable Player of the Year Award. In the 2017 season, Giovinco helped Toronto capture the domestic treble. In his fourth and final season with the franchise, he helped the team capture a third Canadian Championship, whilst leading the team to the CONCACAF Champions League Final. Ultimately however, Toronto FC largely struggled in MLS in 2018, failing to reach the postseason despite being the reigning champions.
Giovinco’s playing career in the States saw him participate in 142 games. Through those he hit the back of the net an outstanding 83 times.
After the announcement of the transfer, Sebastian Giovinco took to Instagram to vent his frustrations.
“As I have always maintained, I was hoping to renew my contract and finish my playing career in a city that feels like home… Unfortunately, this desire of ours has clashed with a change in direction with current TFC management. For the two years I have been seeking to extend my contract however management was reluctant… They may say I left for a more lucrative deal, but this is not the case…”
He then used his platform to thank the great fans of Toronto FC for their hospitality.
“After having grown the brand and elevating the overall reputation of TFC both at home and abroad, it seems I no longer serve a purpose. I would have accepted less to stay in Toronto. Therefore, I reluctantly announce that my tenure as a TFC player has come to an end… With me I bring beautiful memories. Toronto – the 6ix – you are and will always remain in my heart. Thank you for everything you have taught me about myself and about life. I love you Toronto!”
The decision to trade Giovinco will leave a bad taste in the mouths of many MLS fans. Not only did he increase viewership, but Giovinco also elevated the level of play in Major League Soccer, which has been integral to the growth of the game.
His legacy will remain that of a legend regardless. He holds the record for most goals in a season (23) for Toronto, ss well as most goals in a single game (3) and the fastest goal scored (57 seconds) for the club too. He also remains the leading goalscorer in all competitions with his tally of 83.
The Italian must now look to continue his career elsewhere, yet, I feel the damage of the deal will linger for much longer.