Much was made of Federico Bernardeschi’s arrival in Major League Soccer when he swapped the famous black and white stripes of Juventus for the red and onyx of TFC in the summer of 2022.
A promising start to his career at BMO Field has since become disastrous, with Toronto falling to the bottom rung of MLS in 2023 and the production of Bernardeschi as well as compatriot Lorenzo Insigne falling well short of expectations.
So, does Bernardeschi regret taking his career across the Atlantic with Toronto FC? It sounds like it.
Speaking to Italian media giant La Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of Juventus’ Derby d’Italia tie with league leaders Inter Milan, Bernardeschi shared his thoughts on his TFC journey and the difficult 2023 campaign.
“It was not like everyone expected, starting from the club. We have had many difficulties, there have been changes of coaches and probably it was the wrong project,” Bernardeschi admitted. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.
With the futures of both he and Insigne both up in the air, it sounds like Bernardeschi might be open to the idea of jumping ship, recognizing that the project he opted to join has not met his initial expectations when he began his North American adventure. Since signing his contract, Bernardeschi has seen three different head coaches at the helm and has witnessed just eight league wins.
Speaking on his own accomplishments and experience in fresh surroundings, Bernardeschi added that he had a “decent” season in which he ended the year as his team’s leading scorer and was selected to the MLS Team of the Week on three occasions. He also alluded to the difficulties of adjusting to a different league with more demanding travel than what he was used to in Serie A with Juventus, and before that, Fiorentina.
“Personally, I had a decent season, it was a nice experience in a totally different football, where trips are longer and it’s not simple logistically,” he added. “It takes a period of time to adapt, I’ve learned a lot.”
The Italian international also added that a persistent groin injury hasn’t helped him adapt to a new environment, but that those nagging issues should be in the past now “after one-and-a-half years of struggles.”
Perhaps hinting that he would be open to a return with Juventus in the near future, Bernardeschi mentioned that he will always be there for the club he won three Scudettos with, noting that he still has a home in Turin.
“I’ve developed as a man and as a footballer at Juventus,” Bernardeschi stated. “A piece of my heart has remained there.”
During Toronto FC’s recent end-of-season press conference the 29-year-old recently said that he expects more from himself and the team heading into 2024, not expressing any doubts over his future in Toronto. The European transfer window opens in just over a month so we’ll have to wait and see if Bernardeschi’s latest soundbites have any substance to them, or if he is just venting some frustration while showing some love to his former employer.