Giovinco advises Insigne: ‘Toronto and MLS not real football, but…’

by | Dec 29, 2021 16:46

Sebastian Giovinco explains why Toronto FC are trying to bring in Napoli star Lorenzo Insigne to boost the MLS box office, even though the league is ‘not real football.’

The Atomic Ant was the first big Italian player to join Major League Soccer and Toronto FC when leaving Juventus in February 2015.

He won numerous trophies and awards there until his departure for Al-Hilal in January 2019, and he is now a free agent who could potentially return to Canada alongside Insigne.

In other interviews, Giovinco warned Insigne that moving to MLS would get him “off the radar” for the Italy squad, especially in the build-up to the 2022 World Cup.

“Maybe it won’t happen to him because he is already an important figure for Roberto Mancini, but that is what happened to me,” the Atomic Ant told Sky Sport Italia.

“All I can say is that at the time it was fun, competing against players of a high level, feeling I had something to give. Now with COVID and other things, MLS is on the slide. Lorenzo’s arrival might change that.”

Giovinco warns Insigne about Toronto move

When it is put to him that Major League Soccer isn’t competitive on a global scale, with some even calling it ‘exhibition’ football, Giovinco does not entirely disagree.

“It’s not real football, that’s something else. However, they’ve got good infrastructure and I’d make the decision again, especially for those figures. I advise this experience to anyone because my family and I want to live here, it’s a beautiful city.”

Toronto FC won the MLS Cup and the Supporters’ Shield in 2016-17, but have been empty-handed since 2018.

“Over the last two years, people have stopped going to the stadium, it’s been really empty. There were 30,000 in my day, I went recently and there were at most 2,000 people there.

“I understand the owners want to bring in Insigne, because there is a big Italian community in Toronto. The fans go there to have fun, you don’t get the obsession of Italian supporters.”

Would Giovinco advise that Insigne follow in his footsteps?

“These opportunities only come along once in a lifetime, but my situation was different. He is the captain of Napoli, whereas I couldn’t get playing time.”


  1. Brandon

    Alright. Don’t want to say too much but Giovinco needs to stop. I know what he is trying to do.

    When he left TFC it was real messy. It was a match made in heaven and then he ruined it. He wanted more money and when they declined, he went to the Middle East. Before that however, for PR purposes he tried to get the media involved so the supporters would force managements hand. It didn’t work. I think it was Bill Manning (TFC DoF) even said as much in an interview I heard on sport radio.

    Then even when he was playing in the Middle East, MLSE (the owners) would welcome Giovinco back when he was in town and he was seen at NBA games (also owned by MLSE), courtside seats, all that. TFC made the first overture to leave on good terms and they took the high road.

    Now his contract is up with the Middle East club and about 6 Weeks ago I saw Giovinco being interviewed by Toronto media saying he wants to come back but now will take less money. Seems like the contract negotiations were stalling and once again, he is trying to get the media on his side.

    Giovinco HATES the fact that they will likely not sign him and instead sign Insigne. People are carrying on like Giovinco would be happy to have Insigne there and likely Gallo Belotti as well, because then surely they will sign him. They won’t. It will likely be one or the other. But Giovinco’s behavior is rubbing the TFC the wrong way.

    Again, I don’t follow MLS all that much but I know what I’m talking about with this subject.

  2. Gino

    I don’t watch mls but saying it isn’t real football or exhibition isn’t right . Italian players and serie a in general are such snobs yet serie a is a farmers league and the national team may not even make a 2nd World Cup so not sure why they keep running their mouths as if they are the best when they are not .

  3. Ros

    I’ve lived in Toronto for many years. I saw Giovinco play for TFC. He and Altindore were the big stars. But he’s right, the level of football in Canada and US is way behind European Leagues. I’d say, weaker than Scotland (Celtic and Rangers) and Ukraine (Dynamo and Shakhtar). I think any MLS team would struggle against even Cagliari or Venezia. Seriously, I watched and followed TFC. I went to the Toronto stadium before the pandemic. Once you see the quality of football they play, you’ll understand that Giovinco went there only to fill his pockets with money. The league is quite boaring.

  4. Brandon

    And you’re a troll. This much is obvious.

    Not a farmers league.

    But if they do qualify, they’ll sort themselves out and win a couple of Rounds. Few teams will want to line up to face them. Including yours. Feel free to mention who that is.

  5. Acemilan

    Note , article makes it sound like Gio is advising Insigne through the process. I would bet they haven’s spoken. Gio has made no bones about his family loving Toronto and yes he wanted to stay but i think may have got some bad advice from an agent. He transformed TFC like no other player.
    I think he is at a point where he wants to play in a city he loves and wants to do it with good players. I would suggest he would love to see both Insigne and Balotti show up! So would I !

  6. Brandon

    I know the 2017 TFC team well (that won the MLS Cup).

    Towards the end of year when they had achieved their record (at the time it.was most Points ever im a season).

    I know Michael Bradley (ex USA Captain, ex Roma & Verona) was asked about it and he said they would certainly have survived Relegation if they were in Serie A. I think they would have as well.

    These last few years, however? Forget it. Serie C level. Maybe the current MLS Champions could, whoeever they are. Beyond that, who knows.

    Doesn’t help that there are about 30 Teams last I checked. We all think that the level on Europe haa decreased when teams have gone from 18 to 20. Imagine 30?

    If he does go to Toronto he will have little stress. Won’t have to explain to every person who stops him on the street why he missed a PK.

    In the summer, the calcio team is miles behind the baseball teams popularity. He’ll appreciate that the most.

  7. Brandon

    Something to keep in mind.

    In MLS, only 3 Players per Team are allowed to be paid above the 4.5M Salary Cap.

    Have no idea who the 3 are currently on Toronto FC. Insigne will be 1. Would they have 2 more DP Spots open?

    Only this would facilitate a move for both Gallo Belotti and Giovinco to join and rejoin, respectively.

    Gallo will certainly take the spot over Giovinco. Giovinco could indeed join but as a non-DP and would have to be paid 4.5M or Under. I could see him doing that.

  8. Duke

    I agree with Ros that Giovinco went there “to fill his pockets,” That’s what practically every player does these days (are you reading this, Donnarumma?), but I disagree with everything else. MLS is not Serie A, but in no way is it a farmers league. And perhaps the best MLS team is not as good as Shaktar or Celtic, but without doubt the worst MLS team is not as bad as the worst Ukranian or Scottish team.

  9. Brandon

    Belotti wouldn’t go.

    But there is talk that with Genoa taking the drop, Mattia Destro could.

  10. FERBAN


    They never said Serie A was the best, did they? But it’s certainly far better than the MLS.

    And you’re contradicting yourself. If you say Serie A is a farmers league, the what does that make the American one?! It’s garbage compared to an average Serie A.

  11. Feroli

    I’d go if offered a job. Beautiful country and city, wide open spaces, clean, modern facilities. Insigne is 30 now. he will earn a small fortune over the next few years in canada and then that’s a happy retirement for him and his extended family. Makes total sense really. I would even retire in Canada.

  12. Josh

    If you read this once, he sounds bitter. If you read it again, he sounds like he’s being honest. I don’t think anything he’s saying is out of line. I attend MLS matches and want to defend the league but he’s accurate.

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