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Italian Football Daily’s Alf De Blasis recently conducted a lengthy interview with Toronto FC’s Italian striker Sebastian Giovinco, who reflects on his career to date. In the first of a 3-part interview, Giovinco recalls his youth career at Juventus, his loan moves to Empoli & Parma and his debut with the Italian National Team.

ITALIAN FOOTBALL DAILY: YOU HAD A LOT OF SUCCESS AT THE YOUTH LEVEL WITH JUVENTUS. WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST FACTOR IN THE SUCCESS OF THOSE TEAMS?

Sebastian Giovinco: The biggest factor I think is that ever since we were 8, 9 years old, we always played together until we were 18, 19. I think that was the most important thing.

IFD: IN 2007 JUVENTUS RETURNED TO SERIE A BUT YOU WERE LOANED TO EMPOLI WHERE YOU SCORED YOUR FIRST SERIE A GOAL. DESCRIBE THAT MOMENT AND THE TIME YOU SPENT IN TUSCANY.

SG: It was one of my most emotional moments. When you’re a kid and you say you want to play in Serie A, that first goal comes almost unexpectedly. I have to say I have a lot of good memories of that season. It was a rewarding season, difficult too. But I think everything was a lesson.

IFD: YOUR FIRST GOAL FOR JUVE WAS IN 2008 AGAINST LECCE. WHAT DO YOU RECALL OF THAT FIRST GOAL WITH THE BLACK & WHITE SHIRT AND OF THAT SEASON THAT RETURNED JUVE TO CHAMPIONS LEAGUE?

SG: I remember that one very well too. It was a nice goal. We had a lot of players missing so it wasn’t an easy game by any means. We had come from Serie B and were able to earn enough results that allowed us to return to the upper tier of the league.

IFD: IN 2010 YOU WERE LOANED OUT AGAIN TO PARMA, WHERE PERHAPS YOU ENJOYED YOUR BEST MOMENTS IN SERIE A. YOU SCORED 23 GOALS WITH THAT SHIRT. WHAT WERE THE FACTORS THAT ALLOWED YOU TO PERFORM AT YOUR BEST THERE?

SG: They were two great years for me. I progressed a lot during that time. I changed position because at Juventus I was a winger, but at Parma I became a striker. It certainly changed my career so I only have positive things to say about that time. I have to say that I left a special group of players there.

IFD: FROM THERE YOU EARNED YOUR FIRST CALLUP TO THE SENIOR NATIONAL TEAM AND A YEAR AFTER THAT YOU WERE AT THE EUROS. DESCRIBE THE FEELING OF WEARING THAT AZZURRI JERSEY FOR THE FIRST TIME.

SG: My debut was against Germany if I remember. I came on as a substitute. It was one of those classic games; in other words, it speaks for itself. For an Italian player, to play on the National Team and to wear that blue jersey is the ultimate.

Toronto-based TV host/producer of Serie A broadcasts, occasional Toronto FC radio play-by-play commentator, supporter of AS Roma and fan of the world's game. On Twitter @dblas60.

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