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Sebastian Giovinco
Sebastian Giovinco
Date of birth:

January 26, 1987

Nationality:

Flag of Italy Italy

Position:

Forward

Team:

Al-Hital FC

Sebastian Giovinco ( born 26 January 1987) is an Italian professional footballer who plays for Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal and the Italy national team as a forward.

A creative player on the ball, with excellent vision, technical skills, and an eye for goal, he is a free kick specialist and is capable of playing in several offensive positions.[2][3] Due to his short stature, dynamic abilities and pace, Giovinco acquired the nickname formica atomica ("atomic ant", after the eponymous Hanna-Barbera character) in his youth.[3] In 2015, he was named one of the 100 best footballers in the world by The Guardian,[4] FourFourTwo,[5] and L'Équipe.[6]

Giovinco began his professional footballing career with Italian club Juventus in Serie B in 2006, where he was promoted to the first team after his success with the club's youth squad; in his first season, he helped the senior side win the title and earn promotion to Serie A, establishing himself as a promising prospect in the number 10 role. After struggling to break into the starting line-up however, he spent successful stints on loan with Italian clubs Empoli and Parma, where he matured as a player, before earning a move back to Juventus in 2012. Upon his return to the Turin club, he won two consecutive league titles, but once again struggled to maintain a spot in the team's starting eleven. This resulted in a high-profile move to MLS side Toronto FC in early 2015, in a deal which made him the league's highest paid player.

After joining the Canadian club, Giovinco soon established himself as one of the best players in the MLS. During his first year with the club, he broke several league records, including the record for most combined goals and assists in a single season, also helping Toronto to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in the club's history, and winning himself the MLS Golden Boot, the MLS Newcomer of the Year Award, and the MLS MVP Award. In 2016, he won his first title with Toronto, the 2016 Canadian Championship, and became the club's all-time top goalscorer, helping the club to qualify for the Playoffs once again, reaching the MLS Cup Final. In 2017, he won his second Canadian Championship, winning the George Gross Memorial Trophy for the best player of the competition, captured the Supporters' Shield, and also won the 2017 MLS Cup with Toronto — for a domestic treble.

At international level, Giovinco has represented Italy at all levels since first being called up by the under-16 side in 2003; at youth level, he took part at the 2008 Summer Olympics with the Italian under-23 side, and later helped the Italy under-21 side to the semi-finals of the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship. He made his debut with the Italy senior side in 2011, and he later took part at UEFA Euro 2012; winning a runners-up medal, and at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup; winning a bronze medal, and also scoring his first international goal during the tournament.