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Giovinco agent critical of Italy manager Ventura following disparaging comments about MLS


After recent disparaging comments from Italian manager Giampiero Ventura regarding his client Sebastian Giovinco, agent Andrea D’Amico came to the defense of the star forward.

After Ventura’s claim earlier in the week that Giovinco’s stunning productivity totals mattered less due to his playing in MLS, D’Amico was highly critical of the manager’s view.

“I was surprised especially by the words of Ventura. I believe that without knowledge. there can be no competence.” said D’Amico. “The selector of the national team and his staff have the obligation to go and see all the Italian players, regardless of the league in which they play and the country in which they are located. ”

“I do not expect anything from anyone.” he added. “I’m just saying the numbers speak for a striker Sebastian and is scoring a lot, much more than many other Italian colleagues.”

Giovinco has played two seasons in MLS and is currently leading Toronto FC into the Eastern Conference playoffs. After an MVP 2015 campaign in which he scored 22 goals and assisted 16, he was near the top again in 2016 with 17 goals and 15 assists while appearing in five fewer matches due to injury. The combined goal and assist totals easily lead the league in both seasons.

Giovinco made two appearances for the Italian National Team in 2015, but has yet to make the cut in 2016, most notably missing out on this past summer’s Euros.


  1. MLS fans should not fall into the trap of thinking that individual talent earns a player a spot on a national team. It is equally important how players play with each other. MLS is just a more tactically simple and slower league than a top European league. It’s not Eurosnobbery, it’s just a fact.

    Remember Michael Bradley? When he was playing in Germany and Italy, no one complained about his decisions on the ball or his positional play. He was excellent box-to-box. One year in MLS and suddenly he became known for giving away easy passes and getting caught trailing the play after a turnover. Or Wondo, who runs circles around MLS defenses with excellent positional awareness but is a total non-factor against good national teams. Level of competition matters. In MLS each team might have one player as good as a typical starter in a top European league. Guys Dom Dwyer and Jack Harrison shine in MLS but would be lower League or low Championship players back in England. It makes a big difference when you’re trying to get eleven players working as one when they only play together a few times a year.

    Elite national teams place much more stock in how 11 players work together than figuring out ways to find their best talent and get all of it out on the field, and this comes only from having a DEEP talent pool, so deep that us American fans can’t relate to it. We have such little depth that one player is our best player at three different positions (Fabian Johnson at LB, LM/LW, and CAM). We are trying to find a best 11, while Italy has a best 15 or 16.

    • Bull, and bull. For starters the Eredivisie is crap these days except for the likes of Ajax and even they aren’t that great anymore.

      Also, one year in MLS didn’t mess with Michael Bradley. What messed with Michael Bradley in the World Cup was that he had a foot never injury and was undoubtedly dosing that with Cortisone to play through it…he had no touch in his right foot and it showed; it looked like he’d replaced his foot with a wooden paddle. I agree that for whatever reason passing in Serie A is exceptional – you look at not just Pirlo but a host of players there, and when Bradley was at Roma his passing was indeed razor sharp, whereas lately it seems he’s having trouble deciding if he’s a 10 or a 6 and is currently some muddle of the two that does neither job exceptionally. But frankly the rest of Serie A doesn’t impress me a ton. I love their tactical awareness but their slowball approach puts me to sleep and they have some major athletic and even fitness limitations..which Costa Rica, among others, exposed badly down in Brazil. There’s times you almost imagine some of those Italian players with a cigarette dangling out of their mouth when they’re playing, and by 60 minutes their games are…glacial.

      Johnson is indeed our best left back at the moment…and our best right back, where I like him even better. But I’ve always been pretty “meh” to him as a winger and I’ve never certainly never seen Fabian Johnson play CAM; there is no way he has the dribbling skills, creativity, or eye for the connecting pass to play that spot. Sorry, that’s just…wrong.

      Also, the standard of MLS is rising at a good 5-7 per cent every year, which far outstrips any other league on the planet. The J-league doesn’t seem to be getting a whole lot better. The A-league doesn’t seem to be getting a whole lot better. MLS is improving DRAMATICALLY…pop in the Wayback Machine, if you dare, and watch some games from even 10 years ago. You’ll be appalled how bad they were then…and how incredibly improved they are now.

      I’ve never watched the Ukrainian league, so I can’t comment on that as an above poster did, though it does seem like there’s some really good Eastern European players out there, so why not? But the Russian league is…not good. Way less athletic than MLS, stodgy, slow, and boring, with very little in the way of variation or individual creativity unless you see some Brazilians who got imported. Overall they’re pretty bad…which is why Russia washed out of the Euros and wouldn’t even likely qualify for this cycle’s World Cup if they hadn’t bribed and bought their way into hosting the thing.

      • I somewhat agree with a lot of what you have to say, and the lack of parity makes it really hard to judge teams. I will say this though, is i’d be careful making assumptions about leagues dominated by 2 teams. Just because Barca or the Madrids will win La Liga by default, does not negate the hugely superior skill and talent of clubs like Sevilla, Villareal, etc. This goes for a TON of leagues. Young Boys of the Swiss League(higher coefficient than Eredivisie), a traditional third place team and haven’t won a Swiss title since the 80’s, outplayed Martinez’s Everton the one season Everton looked like they might break into the top 4 in EPL. Not exactly a lack of quality. The club usually does well in EL before meeting in a knockout round a club knocked out from the CL.

        This also brings me to another point: How do YOU personally compare the talent of 2 leagues? A World Club/CL format tourney? or over a grueling season? In a knockout round format, yes MLS can compete, but I personally don’t like comparing talent like that, because anything can happen in those games. People make WAY to big a deal for what Costa Rica did (fantastic results and good work by them though). But until they can repeat it, or at least somewhat match it, its an exception, not the rule. We can’t judge the USMNT because one time they made the quarters (just like Costa Rica). We can make a good evaluation of them making it out of the groups in 3 of 4 tourneys, 1 of which is considered a GOD. Thats a much better way to rate than single tourneys, which is why UEFA coefficients look at continental results over several years. You may not respect the Russian League much (I certainly don’t, I see a lot of the same issues as you, from what little games I’ve seen), but they consistently remain in 6th place, which means their top clubs are doing something right against other European clubs. And as explained above, the inability for the lower clubs to defeat these juggernauts DOES NOT equate to no talent. Many of these top clubs have also come and ran circles around MLS All-Stars in mid-season form (thank god that is not more the case; it used to be embarrassing the way they would lose to clubs warming up for the season)

        For me, I like to make my opinions based on season format: How can an MLS squad handle a whole season. There are plenty of Starting XI in MLS that I think could do very well, even a few with great 2 or 3 players off the bench options. But after that, there is a SIGNIFICANT drop in talent from the Best 13 or 14 players to the rest of the squad that you simply don’t see as drastic of a drop in international clubs. An MLS club has 2 or 3 injuries, and there’s talk if they can even make the playoffs. Euro clubs will usually need about 5 or 6 injuries to before they see that kind of significant impact to their season

        Depth is whats lacking, and is why I do place the MLS usually on par with Eredivisie. Does that mean they’re all as bad as Willem II? Absolutely not, but I just don’t see them out competing PSV, Feyenoord, or Ajax (yes, even with their decline) for the title or CL spots over a whole season. Single elimination tourney? Sure, I’ll bet on an MLS club. Whole season? Sorry.

        Depth is where MLS clubs are lacking, and is the next huge step MLS needs to make (they need to significantly raise the salary cap to allow more quality to sit in reserve).

  2. The guy is an elitist idiot.

    MLS is breathing down the heels of French League 1 in terms of quality and has actually passed it in attendance…and anybody who critiques it in terms of quality needs to take a hard look at what else is actually out there. EPL, Bundesliga, La Liga, and yes, I will admit, Serie A are ahead. Ligue 1 in France is probably a little ahead – though not much. Brazil’s ahead, Argentina’s ahead, Mexico’s ahead. The Eredivisie is probably ahead…though I wonder. Guys like Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and Aron Johanssen have absolutely, utterly dominated there.

    Not many other leagues are better, incessant American loathing (and self-loathing) aside. Keep in mind MLS isn’t just the best American players, it’s also drawing heavily from across CONCACAF. You can get one heckuva Central American or Islander soccer player for $100K. Heck, Seattle got Roman freakin’ Torres out of Panama for the bargain-basement price of $75K…are you kidding me? He’d be worth ten or twenty times that, minimum, in Europe. If these CONCACAF guys are so inconsequential, why is it the Azzurri got themselves owned by Costa Rica in the last World Cup and have in fact gone out of Group the last two?

    • You just named NINE leagues better than MLS on your own. Italy is trying to be the best team in the world and has to qualify from the toughest region with the most elite teams. MLS players struggle against the better teams in CONCACAF. You just belied your own argument.

      And you’re also shortselling the Russian league which has a lot of good players and pays them well, and the Portuguese league which is on par with the South American leagues. I’d say MLS is level with the Scottish Premiership or the lower tier of the Championship/League One in England. So that’s 13 leagues potentially better than MLS. I would, and I think fairly, call MLS a fourth tier professional league.

      Top tier is EPL, La Liga, and Bundesliga
      Tier two is Serie A, Ligue 1, Eredivisie
      Tier three is English Championship, Belgium, Russia, Portugal, and the Mexican and SA leagues
      Tier four would be MLS, SPL, Australia, Japan, and the Scandinavian leagues

      • Ouch thats harsh to say the MLS is at the SPL level. The SPL is ranked 22 on the UEFA League cooefficient, right behind Poland’s Ekstraklasa, which I watch and its not as good as MLS imo (far superior speed of play and tactics in Ekstraklasa, but ironically the technical skills is actually pretty poor on most clubs).

        The funny thing is, that many people would probably say MLS is about par with Eredivisie, who’s top clubs far outstrip any in MLS, but whose lower clubs are poor. But then they don’t even realize that Eredivisie is 13th in the coefficient list. Just a few clubs who are above them in the list (i.e have had betters results in CL and EL) in ascending order:

        Switzerland, Czechs, Turkey, Belgium, Ukraine (who are criminally underrated, and would probably be higher if they didn’t have the whole civil war in crimea), Portugal, Russia, France, and Big 4. This isn’t even including great second division sides in england and germany, or Brazil, Argentine, or Mexico leagues.

  3. Euro snobbery! Anyone understands that European leagues have a longer history and attract better talent, but why be dismissive of other leagues instead of encouraging the sport to grow internationally. In a way MLS might be a more appealing league for it’s parity. The Euro leagues, it always seems to be the same top 3 or 4 teams to top the standings and win trophies ( Man Utd Man city, Chelsea in England or Benfica, Sporting Porto in Portugal for 2 examples) and it gets boring and frustrating for supporters. MLS is what 16 yrs old…give it time it’s improving every year. I think this Italian coach is full of shit snubbing Giovinco simply I think ,to maintain his “elitist” credentials.

  4. The train of thought of the new Italian manager is one of ignorance and continues to be the reason american players/coaches will never get a fair shake in europe. Yes, MLS is not a top league but there is an abundance of MLS players playing internationally who are impacting their those teams. His sentiments are why its not hard to laugh at the likes of the Italian and English national teams floundering and made a mockery of in UEFA and World football tournaments. Keep it classy Azzuri!

    • I get what you’re saying, and I agree that Giovinco should at least be called in to evaluate against his national squad teammates (mostly because Italy isn’t exactly swimming in strikers).

      But how many of MLS’ international players play for top teams? Ciman for Belgium is the only one I can think of, and I guess you can count Kaka being called in for a veteran presence (although I think that was just for a camp). If I’m missing anyone, let me know. I prefer this metric to measure the MLS against other leagues more so than any average attendance or wage bills. You can undersell your tickets or overpay your players, but you can’t pay your way onto a national team (or at least I hope not).

      Its one thing to say we have tons of internationals playing for the Costa Rica’s, Mexico’s, etc. Its another to say they play for the Germany’s, Argentina’s, and France’s of the world.

    • He can say whatever he wants, when you have won the world cup 4 times 34′ 38′ 82′ 2006′ runners up 70′ 94′ that is 6 finals, since 70′ they go to the final every 12 years. Italians hold themselves to different standards, so laugh all you want at them

  5. While there is no doubt that MLS isn’t up to par with top European leagues, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t contain some quality players. Considering that the US team, which usually features about half the roster with MLS players, has done better than Italy in the past two World Cups, maybe Italy should be thinking a little more outside the box. It’s not like they have a plethora of world class strikers.

    • We may have done better than them the last 2 WC, but they still won it all the one before that. I’d say they know what they’re doing.

      By the way, I do think he deserves an invite to camp at the least. Dude is averaging a goal or an assist every game.

  6. “he plays in a league that doesn’t count for much.”

    Giovinco has played out of his mind. There’s no denying his ability, talent and ability to maintain a high level of play.

    However, as Rob stated above, Giampiero Ventura is not wrong on his assessment of the league as a whole. Far too many people willingly keep their head in the sand for pride or stubbornness while denying reality.

    When you have a commissioner publicly begging for the services of a a 32 year old Bastian Schweinsteiger, that can’t make the bench of his club and is on the downward slope of his career, the perception meets reality and the fans should blame their league leader for its inability to be taken seriously by the sports peers and the sports fans.

    • Yeah, but Ventura is not bringing in the league to camp, he only needs to bring in one player. Why refuse to see Giovinco in a neutral environment in camp? Seems an irrational approach to putting a squad together.

      • I’ve been an advocate for bringing Giovinco in since he came to MLS and went on a tear. I think he deserves it on about every metric you can think of.

        The two aren’t mutually exclusive. The perception of our league hurts more than just Giovinco, and in most cases it’s absolutely earned.

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