Domenico Criscito leaves Toronto FC to retire from football

Domenico Criscito (44) of Toronto FC in action during the...
Domenico Criscito (44) of Toronto FC in action during the... / SOPA Images/GettyImages

When Toronto Head Coach and Sporting Director Bob Bradley was asked about the return of leftback Domenico "Mimmo" Criscito for the 2023 campaign, he told reporters,

"“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.”"

A few short weeks we have our answer, Criscito announcing his retirement from the game in a joint statement with the club on Tuesday evening after reports emerged last week that the Genoa legend was considering hanging up his boots.

The Italian trio becomes a duo

In just four short months, the Italian full-back left a mark on Toronto, forming a formidable partnership on the flank with compatriot Lorenzo Insigne, improving the Reds' backline, and providing Reds' fans with one of the most audacious goals in BMO Field history. 

One of three Italians to join Toronto during the summer from Serie A, Criscito arrived to less fanfare but nonetheless provided a similar impact.

Criscito went on to make 16 appearances across all competitions, starting 15 of them. During that period, the left-back immediately improved the Reds' backline, which conceded a franchise-worst 66 goals, solidifying himself as the team's most reliable defender.

Beyond play on the field, the fiery Italian provided strong leadership to a Toronto team in transition.

The 2022 MLS campaign was one to remember for Toronto for good and bad.

Alas, the 35-year-old will not be adding to the memories.

The 2023 season will be a crucial one for a Toronto, who have finished 13th in the Eastern Conference in each of the last two seasons after a strong second place in the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

No team has conceded more than Toronto's 132 goals across that 68-game span of 2021 and 2022 and, with Bradley and co. keen to revamp the defense over the winter, losing a decent veteran presence to retirement helps with the franchise's willingness to tear down in order to build back up.