Sources: Toronto FC’s Domenico “Mimmo” Criscito is considering retirement
Toronto FC may have yet another big hole to fill in their backline this offseason.
According to multiple sources, former Italian international Domenico “Mimmo” Criscito is contemplating retirement just four months into his contract with TFC.
The 35-year-old fullback, who will turn 36 in December, is signed through next season on a Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) deal though is leaning towards hanging up his cleats for good.
After spending 15 seasons playing overseas in Italy and Russia, Criscito, his wife Pamela, and their three kids moved to Toronto in the summer. While the veteran defender has acclimated well to living in Canada, there’s concern that his family has not. There’s also question marks about whether he has fully bought into the project in Toronto and whether he fully sees eye to eye with TFC's coaching staff.
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Speaking to media at the team’s end-of-season press conference, Bob Bradley, the club’s Head Coach and Sporting Director, did not make any assurances that the 2010 World Cup veteran would return to Toronto next season.
“I think the conversations with all these guys, now that they’re here, is ‘what do you think? Are you happy? What do you think for your family?’” Bradley said. “Mimmo came in in a good way, and now I’m looking forward to sitting down at the end of the season and talking to him and getting a sense of what he thought about the whole thing.”
Asked if he wanted Criscito to return, Bradley replied: “He’s a good player, he’s a good guy, but you’ve got to make sure that you have players that are committed to being here.”
Bradley went on to add that he has tried to get Criscito’s take on how much the defender, who appeared in 498 matches scoring 50 goals across top European competitions – including Serie A, Russian Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and the Europa League – knew about Major League Soccer, Toronto, and Toronto FC before he arrived.
“I don’t think he thought about it too much,” Bradley said.
“And so, now that they’re here and they get a taste of the league and the challenges that we have as a team to get better, then you want to make sure everybody is all in for that. And so, those become important conversations with a lot of guys at the end of the season.”
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Criscito was the lone Italian that did not take part in the team’s end of the season press conference but has been training with the club since as he continues to mull over his future.
If he does decide to retire, it would be a significant loss for a Toronto FC team that conceded 66 goals last season, matching their franchise-worst goals against total from 2021. The club is in the midst of reconstructing its defence and having to replace Criscito would add another big agenda item to their off-season to-do list.
The former Genoa and Football Club Zenit (Zenit) captain was quality in his 15 games for TFC, scoring once – an MLS Goal of the Year contender. He was one of the lone bright spots on Toronto's back line. Despite his age, Criscito impressed as a left-back, forming a strong relationship on Toronto’s left side with good friend Lorenzo Insigne. It’s unfortunate that there’s a possibility that fans may never see the duo link up on the pitch in a TFC shirt again.