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Results not Retirement Cause for De Rosario's Toronto Return

Dwayne De Rosario plans to retire in Toronto. But first he intends to leave behind the kind of legacy with his hometown club that only a championship can ensure.

Paul Frederiksen-US PRESSWIRE

Dwayne De Rosario plans to retire in Toronto. What was always the assumption became confirmed fact when he acknowledged it as part of the press conference officially confirming he had returned to Toronto FC. But that statement quickly became an afterthought as De Rosario turned the focus towards his commitment to achieving success with the club.

"I didn't come here to pack it in," said De Rosario of his return to Toronto, "I came here to help this city which has been starving for a championship".

In fact, the concept "unfinished business" from his first stop in Toronto became the theme of a press conference focused on a desire to win. The aspiration of acquiring a fifth MLS championship was not concealed in the least by De Rosario. He believes that the club is in a position to do just that, and that is why he has returned.

Success seems to be in De Ro's blood, and he was one of the few players able to maintain it in Toronto. His 32 goals, a club record, in Toronto are massive in terms of the team's history, but have less significance when De Rosario's overall accomplishments are considered. He has played in 324 MLS matches (12th all time), scored 103 goals (6th all time), has won four MLS Cups, was 2011 MLS MVP and is the highest scoring Canadian international of all time.

But De Rosario's ability and the obvious marketing opportunities that come with his re-acquisition were far from the only reasons the club brought him back. His leadership qualities coupled with MLS and International experience are an asset coveted by the club. This will be especially helpful for young Canadian players, an image that Toronto made visible by having the recently signed academy product and U-17 Canadian international Jordan Hamilton at the De Rosario press conference.

"[Having] a legend of Canadian soccer back in the club to look over our young ones," said Toronto FC Manager Ryan Nelsen, "that's just as exciting for me as what he is going to bring on the field."

Where De Rosario will actually fit on the field is another key question, considering news about the possible signing of Michael Bradley and Jermaine Defoe. For a player who is known for wanting plenty of possession it is not known how he will co-exist with these sorts of talents. When asked, De Ro still sees himself as one of the stars of this team. It is a mentality that he says comes with playing the game the way he does, and if he didn't still have it he would be "wasting his time".

Nelsen was evidently distanced from describing any tactical strategy he plans to use to incorporate De Rosario. But he did give the Canadian a vote of confidence when it came to attitude and playing time, saying: "He's a winner, he will make his way on the field".

However, in a media scrum afterward Nelsen did mention that De Rosario may have to "refine" his role, citing age as the major factor. He talked about potentially limiting Dwayne's playing time in order to obtain maximum production. Nelsen did say that he intends for De Ro to be on the field for the majority of the season.

Finally, Toronto FC's prodigal son is back. But he is not here to embrace the (very) metaphorical warmth that it is sure to provide him and retreat to a state of comfort. De Rosario wants to earn back the love of both his city and his club. He intends to do so the only way he knows how: winning.