Giovinco grows in stature
© AFP

When the time eventually comes for Sebastian Giovinco to reflect on his footballing career, you would expect that 7 August 2008 will bring back special memories for the Torinese.

It was the day when the Juventus midfielder announced this potential to the world at the 2008 Olympic Games by showcasing an array of his footballing skills. However, his pièce de résistance came in the 41st minute when he received the ball 30 yards from goal. Taking one touch to control it, another to tee himself up, he then hit a rising left-footed shot which flew into the top left hand corner of the net.

Giovinco then ran to photographers, placing his thumb on his head and sticking his little finger into the air, so FIFA.com's first question to the 1.64m-tall starlet was obvious: ‘just what was your goal celebration all about?'

Proving people wrong
"It comes from the fact that I am not very tall and people always said that I would never make it as a player because I was too small," he explained. "So every time I score a nice goal, I make the gesture which increases my height!

"There were a lot of people who thought I wouldn't make it as a professional footballer because of my size. The media wrote it in the newspapers although some coaches never said it to me directly; I think they thought it too.

I have always had confidence in my own ability and now I'm just eager to prove people wrong.
Sebastian Giovinco is looking to prove his doubters wrong.

" I want to show those who did not believe in me that they were mistaken. That's a big motivating factor for me."

China rises
Things are looking good for the 21-year-old, recently recalled by Juve after a successful loan spell at Empoli. He was voted as the most valuable player at the 2008 Toulon Tournament, where he also finished as his team's top scorer.

After his all-action display on Thursday, the 21,680 crowd in the Qinhuangdao Olympic Sport Center Stadium rose as one to show their appreciation of his efforts. Honduras coach Gilberto Yearwood even compared him to Roberto Baggio and Giancarlo Antognoni in his post-match press conference.

"I didn't expect it [the standing ovation] from the fans, so I was surprised and very, very happy and very proud," he said. "It was a very emotional day: given the goal, my performance and the standing ovation.

"I was a little bit surprised with what the coach of Honduras said about me, but also very grateful. However, I don't like to make comparisons with other great players. I just want to be myself, but it is true that when I was a child I looked up to the great No10s."

Learning from the best
It is from one of those No10s that ‘Seba' is learning his trade. Italian legend Gianfranco Zola is one of Pierluigi Casiraghi's coaches with the Olympic squad - and Giovinco couldn't be happy to act as the sorcerors' apprentice.

"It's absolutely fantastic to work with them," he smiled. "They were professionals who played at the highest levels themselves and they know what it's like for young footballers like me. Their influence is so important for my career and they've given me this wonderful opportunity to play with the national team and show my ability at these Olympics.

"By listening to them and with hard work I hope to get better and better, but I hope, above all, to be a winner, because as a sportsman, people remember you if you win something, so in the future, I hope to be part of a team that wins something special."