By: Brandon Tretter
Toronto FC has sold superstar striker Sebastian Giovinco to Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal FC.
The transfer comes after a week of speculation after Giovinco and the club were reportedly unable to come to terms on a new contract.
TSN’s Kristian Jack reports that TFC will be receiving a transfer fee of around $3 Million for the 32 year old Italian. He also adds that Toronto is expected to add a third designated player to replace Giovinco “within the week”.
Giovinco arrived in Toronto in 2015 from Juventus and almost instantly turned the franchise from a laughing stock to a league power. “Seba” would lead TFC to their first playoff appearance in 2015, also a capturing the MLS MVP that year. The following season the club would make their first MLS finals appearance and then would finally capture their first title in 2017.
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Toronto has been home to me and my family for almost 5 years. I arrived here from Italy in January 2015 and immediately felt something special. From day one, I worked hard to repay the opportunity that Toronto had given me. From that first year, I realized that we could do great things here. Through hard work, passion and determination my teammates and I transformed TFC and made it one of the best clubs in MLS and in North America. We didn’t do this alone. Without our great fans this would not have been possible. I can confidently say that I significantly contributed in making unprecedented history at TFC. We wrote a new chapter in the club’s history, together. All for One. This journey has been a wonderful experience for my family and me. It’s without hesitation that I can say that I wanted it to end differently. As I have always maintained, I was hoping to renew my contract and finish my playing career in a city that feels like home. It is here where my daughter was born and where my son took his first steps on a football pitch. A place my family loves to live and wanted to call home for good. Unfortunately, this desire of ours has clashed with a change in direction with current TFC management. For the 2 years I have been seeking to extend my contract however management was reluctant. Recently, after refusing to exercise the club option for 2020, I was offered terms that I deemed unacceptable. They may say I left for a more lucrative deal, but this is not the case. Their offer and lack of transparency is a clear message. It seems management prefers to focus on things other than the pure desire to win. 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. I will now focus my attention and efforts towards another challenge. 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! Seba
Giovinco took to his instagram account to thank Toronto FC fans for his time in Toronto. He also added that he would’ve liked to end his career in Toronto, even saying he would have taken less to stay, but that’s not how things worked out.
He appeared in 114 games for Toronto, scoring 68 goals.