When asked about leaving Toronto FC star Sebastian Giovinco off his Euro 2016 roster, Antonio Conte had some fightin’ words for Major League Soccer.
“When you make a certain choice and go to play in certain leagues, you do so taking it into account that they could pay the consequences from a footballing viewpoint,” Conte said.
Giovinco isn’t not just playing in MLS, he’s tearing up the league, winning the MLS MVP and Golden Boot last season and continuing that form this year. Naturally, the 29-year-old didn’t take kindly to Conte’s decision or his justification.
“I was upset. I need to keep improving so I can find my place back on the national team,” Giovinco said. “I’ve said before, the league is continuing to grow and it’s a beautiful league.”
However, Giovinco stopped short of criticizing the national team’s manager. “At the end of the day, you need to understand what the coach says when he chooses the team. It can be right and it can be wrong, but it’s not really my place to say. I think that he knows best, and I think it’s a good decision if he says so.”
Not all is lost, however. Toronto FC will keep its superstar through the Euro tournament, a positive for manager Greg Vanney. “Seba has done everything he can to show his worth,” Vanney told the Toronto FC official website following training on Tuesday. “I am sad for him, but at the same time, we have him here with us and we stand to benefit from this.”
His teammates shared the sentiment. “Obviously we feel for Sebastian, we wanted him to go and play for his national team,” said Toronto midfielder Will Johnson. “I don’t think playing in MLS in any way takes away from the player that he is.”