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Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco joins Al-Hilal, slams former club in exit

Sebastian Giovinco now shares the lead in goals scored via free kicks in Major League Soccer.

Sebastian Giovinco has hit out at former employers Toronto FC after being sold to Saudi Arabia giants Al-Hilal on Wednesday.

Earlier reports that the fee for the deal is between $2 million and $3 million are accurate, a league source has confirmed to ESPN's Jeff Carlisle.

Sources have also confirmed that a deal has been done to bring in United States international Terrance Boyd, currently playing the German second division for Darmstadt 98, as Giovinco's replacement on the TFC roster.

Giovinco, 32, was in the last year of his contract with Toronto and had left the team's training camp in California earlier this week.

"I'd like to thank the fans and my teammates for four special years playing for Toronto FC," Giovinco said in a statement from the club.

Sebastian Giovinco has been sold to Saudi Arabia giants Al-Hilal.

"I'd also like to thank the club for helping me as I transition into the next phase of my career."

Later, Giovinco took to Instagram to provide more detail -- and a different tone.

"As I have always maintained, I was hoping to renew my contract and finish my playing career in a city that feels like home. ... A place my family loves to live and wanted to call home for good," he wrote.

"Unfortunately, this desire of ours has clashed with a change in direction with current TFC management. For the 2 years I have been seeking to extend my contract however management was reluctant. Recently, after refusing to exercise the club option for 2020, I was offered terms that I deemed unacceptable. They may say I left for a more lucrative deal, but this is not the case. Their offer and lack of transparency is a clear message. It seems management prefers to focus on things other than the pure desire to win.

"After having grown the brand and elevating the overall reputation of TFC both at home and abroad, it seems I no longer serve a purpose. I would have accepted less to stay in Toronto."

View this post on Instagram

Toronto has been home to me and my family for almost 5 years. I arrived here from Italy in January 2015 and immediately felt something special. From day one, I worked hard to repay the opportunity that Toronto had given me. From that first year, I realized that we could do great things here. Through hard work, passion and determination my teammates and I transformed TFC and made it one of the best clubs in MLS and in North America. We didn't do this alone. Without our great fans this would not have been possible. I can confidently say that I significantly contributed in making unprecedented history at TFC. We wrote a new chapter in the club's history, together. All for One. This journey has been a wonderful experience for my family and me. It's without hesitation that I can say that I wanted it to end differently. As I have always maintained, I was hoping to renew my contract and finish my playing career in a city that feels like home. It is here where my daughter was born and where my son took his first steps on a football pitch. A place my family loves to live and wanted to call home for good. Unfortunately, this desire of ours has clashed with a change in direction with current TFC management. For the 2 years I have been seeking to extend my contract however management was reluctant. Recently, after refusing to exercise the club option for 2020, I was offered terms that I deemed unacceptable. They may say I left for a more lucrative deal, but this is not the case. Their offer and lack of transparency is a clear message. It seems management prefers to focus on things other than the pure desire to win. After having grown the brand and elevating the overall reputation of TFC both at home and abroad, it seems I no longer serve a purpose. I would have accepted less to stay in Toronto. Therefore, I reluctantly announce that my tenure as a TFC player has come to an end. I will now focus my attention and efforts towards another challenge. With me I bring beautiful memories. Toronto - the 6ix - you are and will always remain in my heart. Thank you for everything you have taught me about myself and about life. I love you Toronto! Seba

A post shared by Sebastian Giovinco (@sebagiovincoofficial) on

The Italy international has been a potent force since arriving in Toronto ahead of the 2015 campaign. He was named league MVP that season, and two years later helped lead TFC to a domestic treble.

Overall, Giovinco has amassed 73 goals and 57 assists in 125 league and playoff appearances for the Reds.

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