Who is Lorenzo Insigne?

Lorenzo Insigne has officially signed a four-year contract with Toronto FC. He will start his tenure with the Reds in July. The signing of Insigne is ‘the’ most high profile signing the club has made in its sixteen-year history. Overshadowing the signings of Sebastian Giovinco and Jermaine Defoe. This all begs the question, who is Lorenzo Insigne?

Lorenzo Insigne is a 30-year old Italian winger, who currently plays for top of the table Napoli in Serie A. He began his youth career with Napoli in 2006 and has continued to be part of the club ever since aside from three loans in the early 2010s. After his loans, Insigne put together a string of seasons where his performance and goal-scoring totals have gone up, culminating in his appointment to the captaincy in 2019. The following season, he had his best performance with the first team by scoring 19 goals in 35 matches, putting him in the top ten in league scoring.

He has also performed well on the international stage. He made his debut with the international team in September 2012 for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Malta. Insigne scored his first goal for Italy in an international friendly against Argentina in August 2013. He has played in three major international tournaments; World Cup 2014, EURO 2016 and EURO 2020. Lorenzo Insigne played an integral part in Italy’s EURO cup-winning squad in 2021. He played all but one match in the tournament, the round-robin match against Wales. He also played every minute of regulation in the final game. He was substituted in the final minute for the eventual participant in the penalty shootout, Andrea Belotti.   

It is unheard of for a player in his relative prime to join an MLS squad. In the past, big name players such as Wayne Rooney, Thierry Henry, David Villa, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and many others have made the move to the MLS long after their best years were behind them. Insigne has chosen to join TFC at the age of thirty when players of similar ages such as Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, and his countrymate Ciro Immobile are continuing to play for European squads. We will find out whether the signing of Lorenzo Insigne will have a positive impact on the club like Sebastian Giovinco or, will the ghost of Jermaine Defoe claim its second victim?

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