Age: 29 | Height: 5-4 | Weight: 135 lb.
Hardware: 2015 MLS All-Star, 2015 MLS MVP, 2015 MLS Golden Boot
Your English seems pretty good.
Much better, yeah.
Should we try this in English?
No. [Laughs.] The interview is difficult. If simple, OK. But for an interview, it’s hard. [This interview was done with the help of a translator.]
Have you been working on it? You said last year you would.
No. I learn like this, doing interviews, on the streets, or even speaking with my teammates.
Or you learn through Snoop Dogg lyrics?
[Laughs.] Yes. It’s difficult, the music.
You probably know a lot of swear words, then.
Yes. And if that’s how I feel, I will [swear].
Do you know the words to “O Canada”?
No. I know the sound of the song but I don’t know the words. [Closes his eyes and sings, in perfect tune] “O Canada.”
That was good!
How would you describe your ability to handle the ball?
I got my ball-handling skills naturally. I know I can get better, and I will get better, but it’s something I was born with.
Do you watch highlights of yourself?
You scored an epic goal last year, the night you flew home after competing for Italy. What did you think of that one?
What I did was not easy or normal, but I’m happy that I did it. I knew the team and the city were counting on the game for the playoffs. I couldn’t miss it by any means. If I didn’t score that day, there was a chance we wouldn’t make the playoffs. It was really satisfying for me.
Is that the nicest goal you’ve ever scored?
I think the goal I scored in Parma, for Juventus. But I like everything. Every goal. Every goal for me is beautiful. [Laughs.]
If we put a coin anywhere in the net and you were taking a free kick, could you hit it every time?
Mmm, no. I won’t hit it every time, but it’s a chance to practise scoring goals. Eventually the practising would improve, and I would be able to do it.
Your goal celebrations are great. Do you have a favourite?
I like all my celebrations. Every time I celebrate a goal, I have a motive, but at the end of the day I love them all.
What’s the one thing you miss most about Italy?
At the moment, there’s nothing I miss. Maybe friends and family. But this is all part of life. I see them less, but I’m really happy here.
What about the food?
My wife [cooks]. Yes. Very good, everything. She makes carne, fish, pasta.
When you go out for food in Toronto, where do you go?
Italian restaurant. [Laughs.] Yes, because there are lots of pasta places, lots of pizza places, it just depends what I want. For pizza, Buca and Capocaccia. One in Yorkville, one on Yonge street.
I saw you took pictures with Snoop Dogg and Drake. Who were you more excited to meet?
Drake, because in Toronto, he’s an icon, one of the most important icons in the city.
Do you have a favourite Drake song?
“Legend”? I don’t know if I know that one…
You’re Canadian? [Laughs.] “Jumpman.” “Hotline Bling,” yeah.
Did you expect to be so dominant here last season, your first year here?
No. I hoped to have fun and do well, but I didn’t expect to do so well so fast.
What are your goals for this season?
To do better than last year. I don’t know [if I will], because last year was a big year. So it’s difficult, but I’ll try.
You have a lot of tattoos. Do you have an ant anywhere? [His nickname is “The Atomic Ant.”]
Yes. [Points to right arm.]
I don’t know. Maybe letters or some kind of design.
A Canadian flag?
I hear you’re a big basketball fan.
Big fan, no, but when I came to Toronto, I watched more. I like [Kyle] Lowry and [DeMar] DeRozan.
Are you into fashion?
What do you think? [He laughs and points to his clothes; he’s in a black cardigan, black dress pants and grey sneakers.] I don’t remember the names [of the stores]. I shop where I like. In Yorkville.
Do you find defensive players are more aggressive against you this year?
Yes. Unfortunately, it’s more difficult now, but you can always find a solution. There are many ways to stop me, just like there are many ways for me to pass them.
Where do you get inspiration for new moves on the field?
I actually don’t think about the movement, I focus on scoring goals, and it just happens.
What’s it like scoring in front of TFC fans? They’re pretty raucous.
It’s a beautiful sensation.
How would you describe yourself? In English, maybe?
No. What you’re speaking is like a dialect, because you are Canadian…
I need to change my dialect.
[Laughs.] No, I need to change mine.
OK, can you describe yourself?
I have a very strong personality. Off the pitch, I’m a little bit reserved, but I’m always smiling.