If we’ve learned anything since Sebastian Giovinco’s plane touched down in Toronto on Thursday, it is that the move is about much more than just a team with a plethora of money to spend and a player eager to cash in. Rather, it’s a tale of a city desperate for a winner and a player longing to feel relevant again.
Over 500 fans welcomed the 28-year-old upon his landing at Pearson International Airport. They chanted his name, sang club anthems, and banged on drums as they awaited a man who wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but would soon be amazed but with what he saw.
In their eight years of existence, Toronto FC have never qualified for the playoffs in Major League Soccer and the city has failed to produce a successful team in any significant sport since the Toronto Blue Jays won Major League Baseball’s World Series back in 1993.
Whether it was through the grand reception at the airport, the Spider-Man graphics being used by fans, or the fact that the club have made the striker the highest paid Italian player on the planet, Toronto has shown that it believes Giovinco will be the man who will save them from all their sporting woes.
While it was never a secret how hungry the club and city were to sign a player of Giovinco’scalibre, it became abundantly clear over the past couple of days just how much the striker needed Toronto as well.
“I left Italy because I had many problems there, in the sense that I was always spoken of as a player who couldn't play at the highest levels," Giovinco proclaimed to the media during his first Press conference with his new club.
“I wanted to find a city and a team that welcomed me from the beginning as this city has done. In the end, my decision is a correct one.”
The city and the club have instantly made Giovinco feel important again, something he was undoubtedly searching for. Money was obviously a big motivation in the Italian’s decision to make the move across the pond, but for a player who has largely gone unused the past three seasons, Toronto presents a unique opportunity to be a legitimate star again.
Unlike Jermain Defoe last year, Giovinco has already looked quite comfortable in front of the North American press. On Friday, the striker was happy to do a number of interviews and smile in front of cameras for as long as they asked him to, something that could never be said about the English international during his time with the club.
Indeed, Giovinco and Toronto seems to be a good fit, although it is still early days in the relationship. Only time will tell whether Giovinco can ultimately be the hero that the city is yearning for, but the club and its fans have already demonstrated to the world that they believe in the Atomic Ant.