It’s safe to say the Reds’ latest showpiece Designated Player signing seems excited to start his MLS adventure.
“I choose Toronto because this is a big project for the future,” said Bernardeschi in English. “And I see Toronto two months ago, in secret, with Bill, Bob, [agent/intermediary] Andrea [D’Amico], and I love Toronto – at one minute, [I wanted to] stay here. I love, I love so much.
“Here I have a family, a big, big family, the fans, the team and all people work[ing] in TFC. This is my choice for this.”
That clandestine visit must have been some recruiting trip. It convinced the 28-year-old winger, a Juventus standout, Italian national team regular and reigning European champion with the Azzurri, to pass on Serie A opportunities in favor of TFC and MLS, just like his countryman Lorenzo Insigne, who also joined the Reds this window.
“I finished a path in Italy and with a lot of winning, a lot of victories and also some losses and delusions as well,” explained Bernardeschi, who joins the Reds on a free transfer through 2026 but will reportedly earn around $5 million per season. “MLS is very competitive, and it has a huge future. And I really believe in the future project of this team. I decided to come here for a new opportunity to win, and to win internationally.”
Manning looked pleased to have pulled off another head-turning acquisition for an organization that has made such splashes part of its identity.
“As good as he is a player, he’s an incredible person. And again, raising the bar, as we’re looking to do for our club,” he said of Bernardeschi. “Federico is a full Italian international, European champion, played for one of the biggest clubs in the world the last five seasons. At 28 years old to join Toronto FC and Major League Soccer, it’s very rare, and so we are incredibly excited to see what he’s going to do here in Toronto.
“If his history says anything – winning seven trophies with his last club – we’re in for a bright future.”