Sebastian Giovinco stands up for MLS football at Toronto FC and hopes “sooner or later” he’ll get a call from the Italy squad.
The Atomic Ant has rather slipped off the Azzurri radar since moving to North America, but tonight faces Andrea Pirlo’s New York City FC in the play-off semi-final.
“It’s the first time we’ve faced each other in a knockout match with such high stakes. One of us will go home and I hope it won’t be me,” Giovinco told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Let’s say I would’ve preferred to play alongside Andrea and not against him. We hope to win the title, but New York still have a chance and it will be very tough. Nothing is to be taken for granted in MLS, it’s a crazy league where anything can happen. Here you score two goals and can end up conceding three.
“I work hard and give my best. At times I manage it, at times I don’t, but this is not the easy league people seem to think it is. I already repeated this many times and I have no intention of changing the opinion of those who have already made up their minds.
“At 29 I am at the peak of my maturity as a player and it is above all the best age to be at in psychological terms. Wherever you go, there’s always something new to learn.”
Giovinco was surprisingly not even nominated for MVP this season, largely because of injury problems.
“Missing five games certainly influenced those who had to vote, even if my numbers were excellent. I was out for two months, my bicep was almost torn, something that has never happened to me before.”
Would Giovinco consider leaving Major League Soccer to test himself elsewhere, for example a return to Serie A?
“I am focused on doing well where I am, then in football you can never say never. In any case, nobody from Serie A has come forward and contacted me – I swear! Maybe it’s because they know I’m under contract for another couple of seasons.
“I came here to do my best and I achieved that. I am happy and will enjoy the moment.”
Antonio Conte called Giovinco a couple of times for international duty, but has he been contacted by current Italy boss Giampiero Ventura?
“No. Maybe people think I play at a different tempo here and it’s an idea I respect, even if I disagree. Everyone can make the choices they see fit and honestly I don’t think there is any type of prejudice towards me. Every Coach wants to win and decides based on that.
“Obviously, I hope to receive a phone call sooner or later. Naturally I have the ambition of returning to the Nazionale.”
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