Sebastian Giovinco has had no troubles getting acclimated to life in Toronto and the MLS. The 28-year-old Italian forward has been phenomenal all season and recently got picked for the MLS All-Star team that will face Tottenham Hotspur at the end of the month. With 12 goals and nine assists, he’s the league’s most productive player, ahead of fellow stars like Kaka and Robbie Keane.
Giovinco is still in the prime of his career, and is an anomaly compared to most other big name European and South American players that usually come to the league when they are in their 30s. The little Italian (Giovinco is listed at 5-foot-5) has spent the majority of his career with Italian giants Juventus.
He was out on a couple of loans spells to Empoli and Parma during his nine years with the Juventus first team. He had a very successful loan spell with Parma between 2010-2012, scoring 22 goals in 66 Serie A games. He won two league titles during his time with Juventus and also has 21 caps for the Italian national team, and a silver medal from the 2012 European Championship in Poland-Ukraine.
Giovinco is excellent on the ball and his technique is world-class. He’s able to dribble past defenders at a blazing speed and his trickery has left many of them in the dust. Having a small, technically-gifted player like Giovinco who can shoot with both feet and a tank like Altidore, gives Toronto some great options and variety in their attacking game.
Although Giovinco is costing Toronto a lot of money (Giovinco is the second-highest paid player in the league with a annual salary of just over $7 million), that investment is looking pretty good right now. Toronto hasn’t made the playoffs since coming into the MLS in 2007, but with the addition of Giovinco and Altidore to accompany U.S. international Michael Bradley, TFC is looking like a team that can just not make the playoffs, but actually contend for the MLS Cup.
In addition to bringing in star players like Giovinco and Altidore, Toronto also added French veteran midfielder Benoit Cheyrou who has a lot of experience from the French Ligue 1 and European club competitions with Marseille.
Giovinco is already the darling of the fans, and why wouldn’t he be. He comes off as a standup guy that is ultra competitive and wants to win titles in Toronto. He didn’t just come to the MLS for the paycheck, he came to win.
Toronto has a lot of people with Italian heritage, over 450,000 in the Greater Toronto Area, so he’s given them something to be very excited and proud about. Although the weather in Toronto is very different from Turin in Northern Italy, it seems like Giovinco feels right at home.
He scored his first MLS hat trick on July 12 when Toronto played a 4-4 draw against New York City FC at Yankee Stadium. Giovinco scored the fastest hat trick in MLS history as his three goals came in the span of nine minutes. He also had an assists on Toronto’s fourth goal.
With Giovinco flourishing with his new team, TFC fans can start dreaming about the playoffs.