‘It was a sign’: Manchester City outcast Joe Hart joins Serie A club Torino on season-long loan

Everything fell into place for the England goalkeeper and he is excited by the prospect of testing himself in another top league

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 August, 2016, 8:38pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 August, 2016, 8:38pm

Out-of-favour Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart has joined Italian club Torino on a season-long loan, the two clubs announced on Wednesday.

The England international, 29, arrives in Turin after being frozen out at City by new manager Pep Guardiola.

Hart had been City’s first-choice goalkeeper since 2010, winning two Premier League titles, two League Cups and one FA Cup, but Guardiola signed Chile’s Claudio Bravo to replace him.

“Suddenly [in] my career [there] has been an important turning: it was a sign. Torino’s offer came in the right moment, with the right manner,” Hart said in a statement on Torino’s English-language website.

“I am very excited to compare myself in an important and beautiful league such as Serie A. History of Italian goalkeepers is known everywhere: I am sure I could learn in Torino too.”

Hart was pictured signing his contract on the Torino website.

He was mobbed by fans after flying in to Turin on Tuesday and was later pictured posing with the club’s shirt on a balcony in the city.

Hart will now link up with the England squad, who are preparing for their opening 2018 World Cup qualifier away to Slovakia on Sunday.

“Joe Hart is an international goalkeeper with a considerable experience in Manchester City Football Club and in his national team, where he made his debut when he was only 21,” said Torino president Urbano Cairo.

“His transfer to Torino makes us proud and demonstrates our willingness to build a team more competitive.”

Hart is expected to take the gloves from Daniele Padelli, who has failed to impress coach Sinisa Mihajlovic since the former Lazio defender became coach in May.

Torino are seventh in the Italian top flight after two matches of the season.

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Hart could make his Torino debut on September 11 when the ‘Granata’ face Atalanta in Bergamo.

Guardiola explained that he had dropped Hart due to his desire to use a goalkeeper more comfortable with the ball at his feet.

Willy Caballero, Hart’s deputy last season, began the campaign as City’s first-choice goalkeeper.

Last week, Bravo signed from Guardiola’s former club Barcelona in a deal reportedly worth around £17 million (HK$173 million).

“A key figure in a golden age in the club’s history, Joe has collected as many individual prizes as he has team honours in his decade at the Etihad Stadium,” City wrote on their website.

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“A popular, well-liked figure in the dressing room and a fans’ favourite thanks to his articulate, straight-talking candour in interviews, Hart now joins Turin-based Serie A outfit Torino for the remainder of the current campaign. From everyone at the club, good luck and thank you, Joe!”