Toronto FC agree to sell Sebastian Giovinco to Al-Hilal
Icon Sportswire / Getty

The saga of Sebastian Giovinco's future at Toronto FC reached a conclusion Wednesday night, with the club agreeing to sell the Italian star to Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal.

"This was an extremely emotional transaction for our club. We'd like to thank Seba for all he did for TFC during his time with the club. He gave our fans many thrilling moments during his four years, especially during our championship season in 2017," Toronto FC president Bill Manning said in a statement. "He leaves Toronto as the greatest player in club history. We wish Seba and his family nothing but the best as he begins a new chapter."

There had been conflicting reports in recent days about the Atomic Ant's future at BMO Field, with a move to Saudi Arabia having been touted for some time since Ali Curtis replaced Tim Bezbatchenko as the club's general manager.

Giovinco's exit seals the end of an era for TFC, and of one of the truly great MLS careers.

"I'd like to thank the fans and my teammates for four special years playing for Toronto FC," Giovinco said. "I'd also like to thank the club for helping me as I transition into the next phase of my career."

The former Juventus man scored 83 goals in 142 games during four tremendous years in Toronto. That total is 23 higher than the next highest tally, Jozy Altidore's 60, and exactly 50 more than franchise legend Dwayne DeRosario netted during his time in red.

However, Giovinco's greater legacy will be the leading role he played in turning TFC from perennial also-rans to MLS Cup champions. He scored the goal in 2015 that sealed TFC's first-ever postseason berth, and was named MLS MVP at the end of that season, his first with the club.

He would net four times in six playoff games on the way to the team's first MLS Cup final the following year, and, buoyed by the addition of Victor Vazquez during the subsequent offseason, helped propel TFC to a historic treble in 2017.

TFC have now lost both Giovinco and Vazquez, arguably the two most important and talented attacking stars from their MLS Cup-winning roster. While Vazquez's departure hurt, none could possibly be felt as keenly as Giovinco's. Curtis did add, however, that the team is nearing a move to add a Designated Player.

"We believe in consistency, so this transfer hits hard in a lot of places," Curtis said. "I have so much respect for Sebastian as a player and what he has meant to the organization. His departure presents both challenges and opportunities. Obviously, replacing a player like Sebastian is difficult, but we are working diligently and are confident that we will be adding a new Designated Player in the near future who will be an exciting addition to our team."

Increasingly impaired by injury and fitness concerns during the latter stages of his tenure, the Italian's influence dwindled as Toronto nosedived last year. Excessive contract demands and rumor-mongering may have been the final act, but his legacy remains unchallenged - Giovinco is, unequivocally in the minds of most, the Reds' greatest-ever player.

Comments
Toronto FC agree to sell Sebastian Giovinco to Al-Hilal
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!
Daily Newsletter
Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox