Toronto FC stars begin pre-season with high hopes

Charlotte FC v Toronto FC
Charlotte FC v Toronto FC / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

The anticipation for Toronto FC's 2024 season kicked into high gear as players, including marquee talents Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi, reported for medicals on Saturday, signaling the commencement of their pre-season preparations.

All eyes were on the Italian duo, whose future was subject to recent speculation linking them with moves to Italy. Despite the rumors, TFC officials consistently affirmed their expectations for Insigne and Bernardeschi to participate in the training camp.

The medical session, a critical step before the rigorous training routines, saw the presence of all players, including the newly acquired Honduran midfielder Deybi Flores. The club maintained a closed-door policy for the media during this phase.

Insigne, recognized as one of the top earners in MLS with a reported salary of US$15.4 million last season, only trailed behind Lionel Messi. Messi, now with Inter Miami, commanded a salary of US$20.5 million. Bernardeschi, securing the fifth spot in MLS pay, earned US$6.3 million.

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Toronto FC is gearing up for a warm-weather training stint in Florida, with the team scheduled to head south next Tuesday. Under the guidance of former Canada coach John Herdman, the first phase of pre-season training will take place in Palm Beach until February 2. The team will then proceed to Santa Barbara, California, for the second leg of training camp from February 8 to 17.