Insigne: Toronto move motivated by need for fresh challenge

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Lorenzo Insigne says his move to Major League Soccer side Toronto FC came about due to his need for a new challenge after spending his entire career with Napoli.

The Italy international agreed to join Toronto in January, going on to finish the 2021-22 Serie A season with 11 goals in 32 appearances for Luciano Spalletti's Napoli before heading to Canada.

Insigne scored 122 goals in 434 appearances for his hometown club, a tally which is only bettered by Dries Mertens (148) and represents seven goals more than the late, great Diego Maradona netted for the Partenopei (115).

Speaking at his first news conference in Toronto, Insigne refuted the suggestion that MLS represented a step down for a player of his quality.

Asked whether he had been presented with other options, Insigne said: "I didn't receive any [other] offers at that time. It was very early when I first met the president, and I still had my contract with Napoli. I could have stayed in Europe.

"I'm 31, so I still have many years in front of me, but I wanted to choose happiness and the wellbeing of my family.

"As I mentioned before, I won a lot with Napoli, and I lost as well. But I wanted a change and more importantly, a challenge, either in another European club or here in North America.

"I've heard people saying that soccer in North America is not real soccer, but I've seen it and it's not true.

"It is a challenge because of the move, but I'm really grateful to the opportunity the president gave me and the whole organisation has given me, and the love and the effort that everybody is putting into this. I'm very thankful, and I want to repay the love with my performances during the season."

Insigne joins a team that sits 11th in the Eastern Conference, but he is already targeting silverware.

"I am very happy to be here. This is a big and new adventure for me and my family, this is the first time we have been away from Napoli," he said.

"But it was a great choice, because when I first met the president, he talked to me about Toronto as a city and especially about the team.

"He struck me as a really great person, and the project that he explained to me about the team stuck with me.

"I made the decision, not for the money, but for a new life for my family and my kids, and for their wellbeing. The project is certainly a challenge, and I would like to be part of winning the championship.

"I played for Napoli for 10 years and for the Italian national team, winning the Euros. So, I don't have any problem with being under pressure, and I'd rather have my actions speak for me on the pitch."

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