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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sebastian Giovinco: "What must I do? Pull my hair out?"

Giovinco 230515.jpg
Image credit: 
HighlanderICT. 
Synopsis:

Sebastian Giovinco of Toronto FC discusses a variety of themes in an exclusive interview with Massimo Lopes Pegna of La Gazzetta dello Sport. I will provide a few translated excerpts.

Contents:

1. On the quality of MLS.
2. On not being called up in two years by Giampiero Ventura with the Azzurri.
3. On Spain calling up David Villa at 35 years of age and other national teams using MLS players.
4. On his manager, Greg Vanney, calling him the best player MLS has had in its 21 years of existence.
5. On where would Toronto FC finish in Serie A?
6. On if he has nostalgia for European football due to his current form in MLS? 7. On saying no to FC Barcelona last year. 8. On that people here in the US say he takes free kicks better than Lionel Messi?
9. On VAR in MLS.

Analysis:

It unlikely that Mister Ventura will bring the Toronto FC star back into the Azzurri fold after a two-year absence despite a key injury to Andrea Belotti. Especially during a crunch two-game playoff versus Sweden for a World Cup berth. The Italians like a collective mentality over an individual one. Going with Giovinco would be an admission that both Conte, and now Ventura, did not rate him properly in their respective projects. Many would argue that the Azzurri's lack of scoring recently, along with a paucity of creativity in the box, would make Giovinco a good gamble.


Giovinco's output with Italy may surprise many outside of the peninsula: In 23 appearances with the Azzurri, Giovinco has scored one lone goal at the 2013 Confederations Cup v. Japan.

Giovinco's work in MLS has been stellar: He has scored 58 goals in 92 appearances along with 37 assists for Toronto FC according to Mr. Lopes Pegna. Sweden, even without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, will be a tough test given their performances in a WCQ group that contained France and The Netherlands, respectively. The last time the Azzurri failed to qualify for a World Cup was in 1958. Should they fail this time, decisions such as whether to bring in Giovinco or not would take on more weight.

1. On the quality of MLS:


"I'll respond in the same way as in the past: It's true that the tactical level here is played more simply and that attackers have more chances to score. But on a physical level, it (MLS) surely is a very challenging league." 2. On not being called up in two years by Giampiero Ventura with the Azzurri: "They are considerations that don't belong to me. I always do my job to the maximum, I look forward, without letting those things outside of my powers to influence me." 3. On Spain calling up David Villa at 35 years of age and other national teams using MLS players: "Clearly, there are different evaluation criteria. What must I do? Pull my hair out. I couldn't if I wanted to because I have a short hair cut! (he laughed)" But it's clear. For a footballer to don the Azzurri shirt and win something with those colors is the utmost aspiration and always will be."



4. On his manager, Greg Vanney, calling him the best player MLS has had in its 21 years of existence: "Yes, I've had an important impact in this league. But I think about Villa and Kaká: If they came here during their prime, there wouldn't be any discussion (about who was the best ever)."

5. On where would Toronto FC finish in Serie A?
"Surely we'd stay up; perhaps positioned as a mid-table side."

6. On if he has nostalgia for European football due to his current form in MLS?



"I like to be here and I'm having a good time. It means that I'm calm (he earns a salary of $7 million per year). But when I see games from the Champions League or Serie A, I give it a little thought now and again."

7. On saying no to FC Barcelona last year:

"With the ifs and the buts, you don't go anywhere."

8. On that people here in the US say he takes free kicks better than Lionel Messi?

"Please, any type of comparison would be a catastrophe if it doesn't happen. I think only of taking the set pieces, I like to do them, I'm enjoying myself and I train. Yes, it's a great trait that I have. I don't doubt that."

9. On VAR in MLS:

"It is a good thing for MLS. Here, there aren't any referee's assistants to work the goal lines. For which now, the match officials have an exceptional help (VAR). And then in North America, there is already a predisposed mentality. Video replay has existed for years in basketball and American football. And you experience it in a calmer fashion. Rarely do hotly contested debates occur as is the case for us (in Italy)."

Italian source: "MLS, Giovinco e la Nazionale: "Si, ma che cosa devo fare di piu'? (MLS, Giovinco and the National Team. 'Yes, but what more must I do?'; La Gazzetta dello Sport, 17 ottobre 2017; Massimo Lopes Pegna.



Steve Amoia is a freelance writer and translator based in Washington, D.C. He is the publisher of World Football Commentaries since 2006 and published The Soccer Translator from 2008 to 2015. 

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