Toronto FC sells star Sebastian Giovinco to Saudi club
TORONTO (AP) — The Sebastian Giovinco era in Toronto is over.
Unwilling to meet the Italian star’s contract demands, Toronto FC sold Giovinco to Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal FC on Wednesday.
Toronto had already turned down one bid for the Atomic Ant from a Middle East club. But facing an impasse in contract negotiations, it got what it could for Giovinco with the January FIFA transfer window about to close.
Toronto did not provide details of the transfer fee. But Al-Hilal, a 15-time Saudi champion, said the 32-year-old Giovinco had signed a three-year deal in Los Angeles.
“Welcome Giovinco,” the Riyadh-based club said in a social media video posting.
“I’d like to thank the fans and my teammates for four special years playing for Toronto FC,” Giovinco said in a statement. “I’d also like to thank the club for helping me as I transition into the next phase of my career.”
Giovinco topped MLS last year with a $7,115,000 salary. The former MLS MVP missed preseason training this week in California, with a club spokesman saying Giovinco had been excused due to “leg tightness.”
In four seasons with Toronto, Giovinco had 68 goals and 52 assists in 114 regular-season games (111 starts). He won MVP honors in his debut 2015 season, when he was directly involved in 65 percent of Toronto’s 58 goals with 22 goals and 16 assists. In all competitions, he had 83 goals and 64 assists in 142 appearances. TFC made the playoffs for the first time in his first year, reached the MLS Cup final in 2016 and won it all in 2017, capturing the MLS championship, Supporters’ Shield and Canadian Championship.