De Guzman 'leaning to Europe,' not Toronto FC
Columbus, Ohio - Canadian midfielder Julian de Guzman told CBCSports.ca that it's unlikely he'll accept Toronto FC's contract offer to become the Major League Soccer club's first designated player.
"Toronto did come up with a very lucrative offer, but I haven't made a decision yet," de Guzman said. "Me, personally, I want to stay true to myself and I'm still leaning to Europe, preferably Spain."
The star midfielder commented on news of the offer after Canada defeated El Salvador 1-0 in CONCACAF Gold Cup action Tuesday to move closer to a quarter-finals berth.
Reports surfaced earlier Tuesday that Toronto FC general manager Mo Johnston offered de Guzman, who's out of contract with Spanish club Deportivo la Coruna, a three-year, $10-million US deal, and that de Guzman would make a decision by Friday.
Sources also claimed that Johnston was in Carson, Calif., last Friday at the Canada-Jamaica Gold Cup match to appeal to de Guzman.
According to the reports, the midfielder is mulling over offers from clubs in England, Holland and Spain.
If he did accept the offer to join Toronto FC, he would join a team that already has three Canadian stars, in attacking midfielder Dwayne De Rosario and defenders Jim Brennan and Adrian Serioux, all of whom declined to participate for Canada in the Gold Cup.
Gets start in Germany
De Guzman, 28, has 39 international caps and four goals since making his senior national team debut in the 2002 Gold Cup against Martinique.
The Canadian men's player of the year in 2008 started his club career with Germany's Hannover 96 in 2002 before moving to Spain three years later.
The MLS club's interest shouldn't come as a surprise as the Toronto native is, arguably, the best player in Canadian soccer and would be a prized acquisition for Canada's lone MLS team.
He didn't do anything to dispel those accolades Tuesday night, playing a world-class game in helping Canada shut down El Salvador.
De Guzman teamed with Patrice Bernier and man of the match Atiba Hutchinson to keep the ball away from the speedy Salvadorans and deny their strategy of attacking up the middle with their speed.