The Toronto Football Club, which finished last season as the penultimate classified in the Eastern Conference of the MLS, the American league, confirmed this Saturday what thousands of Naples fans already took for granted after an avalanche of unconfirmed information. Lorenzo Insigne, 30, the captain of Naples and the most creative player on the Italian team that won the last European Championship, signed a contract that will join the Canadian club for four seasons starting July 1. It was announced by the president, Bill Manning, in a statement: “This is a historic day.”
Naples goes through a seizure. Few football environments have been installed with such precision on the border where profane and sacred feelings are diluted. Successor to Maradona in the place of the most adored idols of the most mythical fans in Italy, the little Insigne (1.63m) is on the way to ending his relationship with the tragic point that fuels the history of his community. Events were precipitated last Tuesday when Sky Sports cameras caught him meeting a Toronto delegation at the St. Regis hotel in central Rome. The meeting with Andrea D'Amico, envoy of the North American club, paved the way for the completion of the operation. This Friday Insigne signed the pre-contract document, a bridge to an agreement that will only be final when the transfer is made.
Insigne will turn 31 in June. The date will roughly coincide with the end of his contract with Napoli, the subject of a long and unsuccessful negotiation. The representative of Insigne has transferred to the media that his client wanted to follow but that the owner of the club, Aurelio de Laurentiis, only offered him a downward renewal for an amount of three million euros net per season, less than 50% of his current salary, which in recent years placed him as the highest paid Italian footballer in Serie A. An offense, according to the agent, that Toronto was more than willing to remedy. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport the footballer will earn about 15 million euros net for each of the four seasons he plays for the Canadian club, considering salary and advertising contracts.
Insigne's salary alone will amount to $ 12.5 million annually, net according to La Gazzetta dello Sport , and gross according to various agents who work with MLS. If net, the amount would double the base salary David Beckham earned from the LA Galaxy upon his 2007 signing. “Lorenzo is a world-class forward at the height of his career,” Manning said. “Play with joy and passion and our fans will fall in love seeing you as part of our team.”
Toronto need the reinforcement. He had just won six games out of 34 last season, and his leaders found it convenient to reproduce the experience of 2015, when they signed Sebastian Giovinco from Juventus. Giovinco's passage through MLS was a success. What is more enigmatic is the result of a transplant like Insigne's, whose energy was charged in a volcanic society, in the cultural antipodes of the glacial Toronto.
More than 400 parties
Insigne has played more than 400 games for Naples since he became their most promising youth squad in 2010. After a string of transfers to Cavese, Foggia and Pescara, he became the flag of the club he led to the conquest of two Italian Cups. With the national team, he registers 10 goals in 53 games and his contribution in the last European Championship was crucial as a midfielder, false winger or false nine. His transfer will force the coach, Roberto Mancini, to seriously calibrate the restructuring of the team that, if classified, will go to the Qatar World Cup next November.
The presence of Insigne in Rome to negotiate his departure, last Tuesday, ignited the partenopean social networks. Just two days after Napoli's trip to Turin, where Juventus was faced, the move was presented as an act of contempt for the club. Only the footballer's flawless performance at the old Delle Alpi eased the pressure. Napoli drew 1-1 and remains third in Serie A, five points behind Milan and six behind leaders Inter.
The question will be judged this Sunday, when the Diego Maradona tribunes manifest themselves regarding the match that Naples and Sampdoria will play from 16:30.
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