He’s the Italian maestro tearing up the MLS, but somehow Sebastian Giovinco can’t get a game for the Azzurri.
The 29 year old Toronto striker has scored 17 goals and provided 15 assists this season. In 2015 he won the MLS Golden Boot, MVP award and just yesterday, scored a hat-trick that even Messi would be proud of.
Once predicted successor to Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero, the ‘atomic ant’ now sits at the bottom of Italy’s pecking order.
Giovinco entered the international scene at an awkward time period. Italy had just won a World Cup with a squad consisting of 18 players over the age of 26. Many of those veterans went on to play at Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010. The domino effect that followed is evident in Italy’s horrendous results.
The Azzurri only scored three goals at Euro 2008, and failed to advance past the group stages at the last two World Cups.
Germany are a perfect example of how even their best players follow the national curriculum, retiring young to allow young blood to come through.
Giovinco was caught in the midst of the storm and given inconsistent game-time and little faith from his former managers as a result.
Since leaving Juventus for Toronto FC in the MLS, Giovinco has flourished into the player everyone envisioned him to become. The technically gifted forward has the ability to create magic from nothing. He’s a born goalscorer that can also orchestrate opportunities for his team-mates. His versatility up front allows managers to play him in a variety of attacking positions. Giovinco is as far as they come from a ‘one dimensional player’, and is exactly what the Azzurri need in their attacking arsenal right now.
Giovinco hat-trick vs NYCFC
THE UNWANTED LABEL OF THE MLS
The grass appeared greener for Giovinco after the arrival of new manager Giampiero Ventura. Unfortunately, Italy’s managers seem to share a common trend – a disapproval of the MLS.
The MLS is often stereotyped as a league for washed up football stars looking to earn cash before retirement. What we can’t fathom, is how Ventura blames the quality of the MLS for Giovinco’s absense, whilst continuing to select Graziano Pelle who plays in the Chinese Super League (before his temper tantrum against Spain).
“Giovinco is a different story. I have done everything to help him but the reality is that he plays in a league that doesn’t count for much,” Ventura said.
“And the number of goals he scores is less important because with the quality he has got, he is bound to make a difference in that league.”
It’s evident that footballers playing in the Serie A are the front runners when it comes to international selection. Ironically, there is a significant divide in class which separates the top and bottom half of the Serie A table.
Italy’s latest lineup of forwards look far from convincing. While the selections of leading goalscorers Ciro Immobile (Lazio) and young gun Andrea Belotti (Torino) seem warranted, Leonardo Pavoletti, Eder, and Manolo Gabbiadini have only scored seven goals between them. Premier League flop Simone Zaza is struggling to even get a game at West Ham, which leaves us asking the question. Why isn’t Giovinco getting a run?
There’s no denying that Italy have lacked firepower in attack for a while now. Although it’s only been 10 years since Italy’s famous World Cup win over France, it feels like a lifetime ago since they possessed such deadly talent in the final third. Only two players remain from Italy’s World Cup winning side a decade ago, Daniele de Rossi and Gianluigi Buffon.
The Azzurri play 183rd ranked Liechtenstein in four days, and will be expected to win convincingly.
Although the World Cup qualifier is a must win for the Italian’s, surely Ventura can make room for in-form strikers Giovinco and Mario Balotelli.
It’s unlikely Italian selection will bother Giovinco, as he prepares to lead Toronto to their first ever MLS title. Toronto will take on arch-rivals Montreal Impact in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. Both teams are hoping to become the first ever Canadian team to win the MLS Championship.
Does Sebastian Giovinco deserve a spot in Italy’s squad?