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Jon Bakero relishing Toronto FC challenge

The Spaniard spoke to Mundo Deportivo about the upcoming season; WTR’s Gianluca Lia has it translated.

MLS: New York City FC at Toronto FC Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

A new year has kicked in and we are already a few weeks away from Toronto FC’s first competitive fixtures as Independiente FC are awaiting in the 2019 Concacaf Champions League.

A fresh season always brings in new expectations and high hopes for the fans, but the players are no exception either.

One of TFC’s members who is relishing the chance to showcase his talent in the coming season is Spaniard Jon Bakero, who, following his cameo appearances during 2018, is keen to carry more responsibility on his shoulders.

Speaking to Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo (MD) recently, the Spaniard has underlined the exceptional welcome he received in Toronto when he joined the club and he is willing to repay that enthusiasm with positive displays.

“I find myself very comfortable here in Toronto,” Bakero told MD.

“One of the differences from the Chicago Fire to Toronto is that in Canada I feel that I am more trusted and that injects a huge morale boost in me because that makes me feel part of the squad.”

Bakero, who is the son of former Barcelona player Jose Mari Bakero, has so far played only seven games in MLS between the Fire and TFC.

Ironically, he is yet to win a game in MLS as he drew one and lost the remaining six every time he stepped on the field.

The 22-year-old is ready to change that. In his own words, “I want to continue to develop, learn from the experienced players, and start to establish myself in the league.”

“Under this current technical staff, I feel that I am surrounded with the right people to reach my goals, but it depends on my commitment as well.”

Asked about any particular differences between the Fire and TFC, Bakero explained that in Toronto he found a lot of talented players who have a winning mentality which reflects the ambitions of the organisation.

In recent years, such ambition has been shown by other clubs, including newcomers like Atlanta United and some of the old franchises such as the Los Angeles Galaxy and D.C. United.

In their sophomore year, Atlanta managed to claim the ultimate prize under the guidance of Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, on whom Bakero heaped praise.

“MLS is a very complicated league due to its format but I think that Atlanta United deserved to win the championship after all,” he said.

“I think that ‘Tata’ gave a lot to a side who managed to sell out its stadium week in week out and had a lot of quality players in its side.”

One of the players whom Bakero admired in MLS was his compatriot David Villa, who left New York City FC to pursue his career in Japan at Vissel Kobe.

Like Bakero’s father, Villa also has donned the Barcelona shirt and is one of the role models for the Toronto FC’s forward.

“Undoubtedly, David Villa has paved the way for a lot of youngsters to give MLS a shot because although he was on the wrong side of the 30’s, he could have easily continued to play in Spain,” Bakero underlined.

“Same thing goes for Sebastian Giovinco, who is one of the best players in the league, and could have easily stayed in Europe.”