Jozy Altidore blasts Toronto FC president over 'games of ego'
After limping out of Friday night's game, Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore said his injury could have been avoided had club president Bill Manning "put his ego aside" and allowed a former trainer to stay with the club.
Altidore left Toronto's 4-3 win over Minnesota United in the 82nd minute with hamstring tightness, then sought out reporters to express his dissatisfaction with management.
"It's bittersweet because this could have been avoided, but you'll have to ask Bill Manning why it's not avoided," Altidore said of his exit. "It's just disappointing. I'm just disappointed."
Altidore said that following former MLS MVP Sebastian Giovinco acrimonious exit from Toronto FC this winter, the club also cut ties with trainer Giuseppe Gueli, who had worked with Altidore and a number of players "every day" to prevent muscle injuries.
And Altidore said Manning's "vendetta" against Giovinco and those associated with him was what led to Gueli's termination.
"Well, we had a trainer here the last three years that's been helping me with muscle injuries, but because he was attached to Seba [Giovinco], he's not allowed at the club, which I think is ridiculous," Altidore said. "And so now this is what I'm faced with -- games of egos and that (kind of) thing. Hopefully [Manning] can put his ego aside and I can get the guy that's kept me healthy, kept Michael [Bradley] healthy, kept a bunch of the guys healthy, and we can make things move forward.
"To run a club, you've got to be able to put your ego aside and put the players first, so hopefully that will change."
Altidore also said he had found it a challenge to personally express his feelings to Manning.
"He's not here. He's not around, so you can't find him," Altidore said. "You go to his office and he's not there, he's travelling, he's this and that, so I wish I knew, but I don't know."
In a text message sent to ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle, Manning said of Altidore that "he was frustrated" and added that he would talk privately to the U.S. international striker.
Bradley was more diplomatic of his longtime Toronto and United States teammate when asked about Altidore's comments.
"Jozy is a guy who feels like at this point in his career he knows exactly what he needs," Bradley said. "He knows exactly what he needs to do day in and day out to keep himself healthy, fit and ready to play at the highest level.
"I'm hopeful that there is a solution here because I think a lot of us certainly feel strongly that, again, making sure that the staff behind the scenes is in place and is right. I think that in time, it will absolutely get taken care of."