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Giovinco thanks Toronto FC fans, berates club for handling of contract

Jun 2, 2018; Columbus, OH, USA; Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco (10) against the Columbus Crew SC at MAPFRE Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

This is not the way Sebastian Giovinco wanted his career with Toronto FC to end.

A product of the Juventus academy, the Italian striker spent four seasons with the Reds, tallying 83 goals and 64 assists in 142 appearances. He won the league’s MVP, Golden Boot and Newcomer of the Year awards. He is Toronto’s all-time leading scorer and helped the club capture an MLS Cup.

In an Instagram post, Giovinco said Toronto “feels like home.” But the star striker is leaving.

Toronto sold his rights to Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal FC for a reported fee of $2 to $3 million. Giovinco, 32, was in his last year of his contract with the club. According to him, he wanted to work out a deal and stay in Toronto for the rest of his career.

It didn’t work out that way, and Giovinco expressed his disdain for and frustration with Toronto’s management in that Instagram post, which appeared late Wednesday night.

“As I have always maintained, I was hoping to renew my contract and finish my playing career in a city that feels like home,” Giovinco wrote. “Unfortunately, this desire of ours has clashed with a change in direction with current TFC management… 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.”

Giovinco came to Toronto in 2015 after playing for Juventus and other Italian clubs on loan. At the time, the move seemed unprecedented for an MLS club to land a player of his caliber. Giovinco was 27-years-old and in his prime, appeared for the Italian senior national team.

He made an impact right away, notching 22 goals and 16 assists in his first season. With Giovinco, Toronto captured two Canadian Championships, two MLS Eastern Conference Championships and they reached the final of the Concacaf Champions League. He was a four-time MLS All-Star and a three-time MLS Best XI selection.

While Giovinco didn’t have a pleasant message for Toronto’s front office, he was appreciative of the city and its fans.

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,” Giovinco wrote. “This journey has been a wonderful experience for my family and me… 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!”

View this post on Instagram

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

A post shared by Sebastian Giovinco (@sebagiovincoofficial) on

Al-Hilal is first in the Saudi Pro League with a record of 12-1-4. It recently hired Zoran Mamić, a former Croatian player, as its head coach.

After a disappointing 2018 regular season, Toronto will begin its 2019 MLS campaign on March 2 in Philadelphia.

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