Star striker Jozy Altidore bids farewell to Toronto FC in social media post
Published February 11, 2022 at 9:08 am
TORONTO — Star striker Jozy Altidore, who has been missing from Toronto FC’s training camp, said farewell to Toronto via Instagram on Friday.
The MLS team has not said much about Altidore’s absence although coach Bob Bradley said earlier this week an announcement on the 32-year-old forward’s future was coming “shortly.”
A source, not authorized to speak publicly on the matter because talks have been ongoing behind the scenes, said TFC and Altidore’s representatives have been in prolonged discussions about a contract buyout. The New England Revolution reportedly is waiting in the wings to sign Altidore, one of TFC’s three designated players.
Friday’s social media post to Altidore’s 197,000 followers, accompanied by a photo of the player waving to the crowd, suggests those talks have finally concluded.
“Thank you Toronto and all the fans for a wonderful seven years,” he wrote. “To all the staff and my teammates throughout this time, THANK YOU!! Toronto will always be home. Thank you MLSE and Larry and Judy Tanenbaum for all of your support over the years. See you soon and all the very best in the future.”
Larry Tanenbaum is chairman of the board of directors of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the team. Judy is his wife.
TFC is currently in Texas, gearing up for its Feb. 26 season opener at FC Dallas.
Altidore ranks second in goal-scoring for Toronto with 79 goals in all competitions. Only Sebastian Giovinco, with 83, has scored more in FC colours.
But Altidore managed just six goals over the last two seasons, in limited action due to injuries and a disagreement with the club. Those goals came at a price with Altidore’s salary of US$3.6 million seventh on the MLS pay scale last season.
MLS teams are allowed one contract buyout in the off-season, which does not count against the salary cap.
Things soured last season when Altidore spent some eight weeks on the outs with the club after a confrontation with then-coach Chris Armas when the striker was substituted in the 70th minute of a 1-0 loss to Orlando City on May 22.
Altidore spent the time training on his own, away from the first team. But he returned in July after Armas was fired following a 1-8-2 start to the season.
Altidore, who has two years left on his Toronto contract, never revealed what went wrong behind the scenes.
“At the end of the day, nobody wants to be somewhere where they weren’t wanted,” he said after returning to the fold. “And I’m never going to be in a place if I’m in the way. I want to make sure quickly that doesn’t happen.
“Things change in football. Things change all the time. And I’m just so happy to be back in the team. I love Toronto.”
Altidore had bumped heads with Toronto management in the past, complaining about medical treatment and support. But TFC players always said he was a caring, supportive teammate.
Altidore ranks sixth in Toronto appearances, with 172 in all competitions.
He joined Toronto in January 2015 from England’s Sunderland with English international forward Jermain Defoe going the other way.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 11, 2022
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Pressinsauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising