Sebastian Giovinco was retired, or so one would believe if they cracked open an Italian newspaper the day it became official that the Atomic Ant was coming to Major League Soccer.
Nobody in Italy could understand why a 27-year-old with so much promise would just give up on his career and head to a "mickey mouse" league in North America just to cash a final cheque. He could have been at Arsenal, at Tottenham so the rumours went, instead he went to Toronto FC.
Today that once considered astounding move was officially made worth it for Giovinco, as he was called up by the Italian national team for Euro 2016 qualifiers against Malta and Bulgaria. Those matches will be played on September 3 and September 6 respectively.
Since joining MLS Giovinco has taken the league by storm with an MVP season for Toronto. Giovinco is second in league goalscoring with 17 goals and fourth in assists with 12.
With the call up, Italian manager Antonio Conte praised the Toronto designated player, saying he has been impressed with what Giovinco has done in MLS. He also mentioned that Giovinco could be an important member of the Italian team if he continues to play like he has of late.
Joining Giovinco on the Italian national team will be yet another Italian MLS player: Andrea Pirlo of New York City FC.
These pair of call-ups are a sign of progress for Major League Soccer, but it is the Giovinco selection that is most important.
By coming to North America Giovinco was not only able to get his career back on track, while also earning a big payday doing so, he was able to stay in the Italian national team.
Given the stigma that seems to be attached to Major League Soccer as a "retirement league", especially in Italian circles, the fact that this was overlooked to call up Giovinco is important.
The Italian national team rarely calls up players who ply their trade outside of Italy, least of all those who play in North America.
Sacrificing national team duty was once one of the reasons coming to Major League Soccer was so unappealing, now it can be an opportunity for players to get back in the national team setup.
This surely will turn the heads of more than a few players like Giovinco, who are looking to revamp their career in a new setting.
Today's news is also big for Toronto FC, as it could likely mean Giovinco sticks around longer. Not getting called up for England at the World Cup was likely a big reason why Jermain Defoe soured on Toronto, now Giovinco will be in the mix to represent Italy at the Euros.
Short term this means Giovinco will miss a big game away from home in Seattle, which was a game that was already going to be incredibly difficult for Toronto. But long term it should help the club's relationship with the player, knowing that he can still fulfill he national team dreams.
Toronto will not be without help, however, as Michael Bradley and likely Jozy Altidore will forego United States national team callups to play in the Seattle game. Jonathan Osorio and Ashtone Morgan were left off of the Canadian team meaning they will be there as well.
Today proves that Giovinco is far from retired, in fact today may prove that his career has officially been re-ignited.