After an absence of three years, Sebastian Giovinco has received that coveted call-up from Italian national team coach Roberto Mancini.
In fact, the Toronto FC stalwart will be part of the Azzurri contingent for their international appointments against Ukraine (friendly) and Poland (UEFA Nations League).
The former Juventus player last played for Italy on October 13 of 2015 against Norway, literally a few hours before TFC hosted the New York Red Bulls in one of the club’s most important games in recent history — safe to say that Giovinco found the net at BMO Field.
However, then-Italy coach Antonio Conte did not select Giovinco for the 2016 UEFA European championships, where the Azzurri’s journey was halted in the quarter-finals by Germany.
Following that spell under Conte, Giampiero Ventura was never really interested in picking Giovinco. In his own words, MLS was not a proper league, hence Giovinco’s performances were reflected by the championship’s low quality of players.
Few minutes in major tournaments
Giovinco has 23 caps under his belt for his nation, but has never been a protagonist at a major international tournament.
He just made a couple of short cameos during Euro 2012 against Spain and Croatia, in their first couple of group appointments.
For the record, he represented Italy during the 2013 Confederations Cup under Cesare Prandelli, where he was also one of the team’s best players during a 4-3 victory over Japan, in which Giovinco managed also to rack up a goal for himself.
Seba, who made his Italy debut in 2011 against Ukraine, was part of Italy’s qualification campaigns for Euro 2012 and Euro 2016 alongside the 2014 World Cup.
Come 2018, with a new competition and congested schedule with lot more competitive fixtures, Italy surely need to spread their tentacles and look for players beyond Europe’s heel and in this case, Giovinco might be a valuable asset for their Nations League and Euro 2020 cause, where the Atomic Ant might be provided the platform for a last hurrah with his nation.
MLS highlight reel
At Juventus he was protected by Conte, but not loved by his own supporters.
In Canada, Giovinco was reborn and since 2015, he has showcased his exceptional skills week in and week out, earning the claims of one of the best ever to play in MLS.
Unlike other players, the Italy international landed in the championship at 28 years, an age which is often considered the period where a player is reaching his peak of his qualities and maturity.
Donning TFC’s red shirt, Giovinco has scored 82 goals with 50 assists in 140 games which helped the club to conquer every domestic title and finish as runners-up in the Concacaf Champions League earlier in 2018.
He is the main cover of a team, something he could not really experience in the Old Continent.
Mancini’s missing puzzle piece?
At 31 years of age, Giovinco is presented with the opportunity to don Italy’s famous blue shirt once again.
This may not have been his best year in Canada and many argue that this call-up should have been on a consistent basis during the 2015-2017 period.
Nonetheless, Giovinco won’t bother much about such arguments as he is eyeing the chance to be part of the Euro 2020 squad, where Italy would play at the Stadio Olimpico, the venue in which he last featured for his nation.
With Mancini looking for a proper number 9, he may have found the key to unlock the current forwards in the roster.
Whether he will be an asset or a bust for Italy, we have to wait and see. For sure, this is some great news for TFC’s fans in a dreadful MLS campaign.