VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Whitecaps fans hoping to wake up to a pint-sized Swiss-Italian playmaker in their stockings Christmas morning might have to write jolly old St. Nick a bit more fervently.
A week after Davide Chiumiento, now playing for Swiss club FC Zurich, was spotted dining with Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie, the ‘Caps are maintaining it was a social, rather than a professional, rendezvous.
“We left on very good terms, at least in my opinion, and obviously in Davide’s as well,” club president Bob Lenarduzzi told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “He loved his time here. At the time the move came about, it seemed in the best interest of both parties, but there was no animosity.
“So, I think what was reported was that simply he’s on his break, he has a girlfriend that’s from Vancouver, and it was just a reconnection of acquaintances.”
Chiumiento was a fan favorite during his time in Vancouver for his technique on the ball and ability to hit incisive passes in the attacking third. He also gave the team a level of off-field personality with a unique, honest and often humorous take on various goings on, which made the team a bit more interesting to follow for the casual fan.
It wasn’t all roses – he seemed out of shape for much of the club’s ill-fated 2011 season, admitting to one local newspaper that he was 10 pounds over his ideal playing weight – but seemed to hit peak form under Rennie in 2012.
Looking fit as a fiddle and more motivated in defensive situations, the 28-year-old thrived in the wide left position, and was electric in the lead up to his move to Zurich, tallying four assists in his final eight games with the club.
So if Chiumiento was pushing for a return to Vancouver, as some have suggested, would the club be open to his return?
“I think we’re always open to having players that are capable of playing in our league, and obviously he’s a known commodity now – but all of that is premature,” Lenarduzzi said. “He’s contracted to FC Zurich, and there really couldn’t be any discussions on that. Otherwise we would be out of order and he would as well, so right now it’s just a reconnection.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.