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Is Sebastian Giovinco too good for the MLS?

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At 28-years-old a footballer should be in his prime. The sometimes naïve inexperience of youth is gone, and the legs still have a lot left in them, it is the time in a player's career where he should be showing his best form.

Sebastian Giovinco is doing just that. Still with two matches of the MLS regular season to play he has 22 goals and 12 assists, and producing the kind of skill that is a dream for Viners everywhere. 

Toronto FC sit second in the Eastern Conference, in their previous eight years of existence they have not finished any higher than 11th. A lot of this is down to the Italian, he is already the second highest scorer in the club's history and is just 11 goals away from breaking Dwayne De Rosario's record despite having only been in Canada since January.

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But their remains a lingering doubt. Is Giovinco's form reflective of the league he is playing in? And if not, then why couldn't he produce such form whilst in Europe?

A Juventus youth product - he made his debut during the club's sole season in Serie B following the Calciopoli scandal, and stayed with the Turin club until his departure earlier this year. From 2008 to 2010 he played a bit part role until he started a two year loan spell at Parma.

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It was during those two years that Giovinco really established himself in Serie A. His second season especially, where he scored 15 league goals, led the club president Tommaso Ghirardi to declare that his loanee was worth €40m. 

His form even earned him a call up for Euro 2012 where Italy finished as runners up, but a lack of progress in the following two seasons meant he missed out on the World Cup in Brazil.

And it is those two years where it looks like it went wrong for Giovinco. He arrived back at Juventus, after Parma, after the Euros, and confidently stated he wanted the number 10 shirt - recently vacated by Alessandro Del Piero. 

But it just didn't work out. He only managed five goals in his final year and a half in Turin and subsequently moved to the MLS.

Many consider the 2015 MVP award as his to lose - some compliment for a player in a league that includes Kaka and David Villa still showing what they're capable of. But Toronto's coach Greg Vanney is in no doubt the Italian is number one.

Vanney also correctly points out that whilst he is producing form he didn't during his time in Europe, it should not be easily dismissed, as many players from Europe have come and failed to make such an impact in America. 

Giovinco himself has also stated that he can cannot compare his MLS achievements with what he achieved in Italy, playing in the Champions League and in a major international tournament.

 

What he meant by that is open to interpretation, but it seemed like the statement of a player who recognises the difference in quality that he is up against. 

Maybe he is benefitting from being the key man, something he never was at Juventus, and playing game after game - only once in six seasons did he play 30 or more league games in a season in Turin.

For now, Giovinco is the star. He is attracting interest from Europe from Tottenham, Liverpool, and reportedly even Barcelona. Antonio Conte also included him in his squad for Italy's recent Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Should he stay in America, if he continues his form he will go down as one of the best players ever to play in the MLS. But there is just the feeling that the Italian might have unfinished business on a much bigger stage.

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Topics:
Toronto FC
MLS
Serie A
MLS Eastern Conference
Football

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