Toncheff bids farewell to the Rock

After 3 and a half seasons, the Rock bids a fond farewell to Argentine hit-man Cristian Toncheff. The striker was one of the first foreign imports into Gibraltar football following the GFA’s acceptance into UEFA back in 2013. Toncheff played for Europa and Manchester 62 during his time on the Rock scoring 59 goals in 83 games across all competitions, giving him a goal ratio of around a goal every other game. Toncheff’s physical presence and an eye for goal made him a tough opponent for defences. Toncheff will be signing for Bahrain Premier Division side Al-Bahrain Sports Club, who were promoted as Second Division champions last season but now are sitting at the bottom of the table. A new team mate for the Argentinian will be Brazilian Bruno who is a player who followers of Gibraltar football will recognise from his cameo at St Josephs back in the 2013/14 season. The Argentinian released the following statement upon his departure from Gibraltar:

Spanish

Quiero mediante este comunicado oficial expresar a Gibraltar las gracias por ser parte importante en mi vida y carrera. He buscado muchas maneras para expresar,pero no encontré,no tengo maneras para hacerle saber lo importante que es este pais para mi,sinplemente gracias,a aquellas personas quien fueron los primeros en abrirme los brazos y hacerme sentir un llanito mas. Gracias Malcom y Jony, gracias a la GFA, gracias los clubes, a compañeros y ex compañeros, gracias a Europa FC,por darme la oportunidad, gracias a los arbitros por el respeto siempre, y  gracias a un señor club : Manchester 62 FC, por confiar en mi. Espero en algun futuro poder devolver el cariño que me han dado, y no quiero olvidar a los medios de comunicación que también son parte del futbol de Gibraltar, que gracias a sus desempeños hacen posible llegar hacia los nuestros. Desde mis mas sinceros deseos gracias, y hasta pronto.

English

I would like to express via this official statement my thanks to Gibraltar for being such an important part of my life and footballing career. I have looked for many ways to express my sentiments but I have been unable to find the words to express to everyone how important this country is for me. My sincere thanks to all those people who were first to open their arms and make me feel like a “llanito”. Thanks to Malcolm and Jony, thanks to the GFA, to all the clubs, team mates and ex-team mates, thank you to Europa FC for giving me the opportunity to play here. Thank you to the referees for their continuous respect and thank you to another club, Manchester 62, for their confidence in me. I hope I will be able to repay their confidence sometime in the future whilst not forgetting the media who are also part of football in Gibraltar as thanks to their hard work, our endeavours are able to reach back home to our loved ones. Thank you and hope to see you all soon.

Toncheff began life in Gibraltar on fire scoring on his debut for the then College Europa in their 3-1 win over newly promoted Gib Phoenix. He went on to score in 5 of College’s next 6 league games as he helped guide the club to the Rock Cup Final where they suffered a narrow defeat in the last minute against Lincoln which ultimately gave them a place in the Europa League, thus becoming Gibraltar’s first representatives in the competition. As expected, it was never going to be an easy task as twice Toncheff suffered defeat in both years he played in UEFA’s 2nd tier club competition. They first came up against FC Vaduz of Liechtenstein where they suffered a 4-0 aggregate defeat. Things did not get any better the following season, where they were humbled by Slovakian champions Slovan Bratislava 9-0 on aggregate. This tie proved to be Toncheff’s final appearance in the green and black shirt before his move to Manchester 62. Looking back on his time at Europa, Toncheff was grateful to have had the opportunity to have accomplished one of his dreams.

“I was lucky to be involved in Gibraltar’s first steps in UEFA which fortunately for me gave me the opportunity to play in the Europa League which by all means was not easy.”

At the beginning of last season, he went on to sign for Manchester 62 in a project which promised so much but unfortunately to date, has delivered little. Toncheff was Manchester 62’s stand out goal scorer by a country mile last season, scoring 15 goals in 25 league appearances but it was only good enough to help the Red Devils finish 6th in the table. He did start the previous campaign on fire though, scoring 7 goals in the first 5 games which prompted him to be listed amongst the players in Europe’s top tier Divisions as the most efficient goalscorers. He was in the same company as the likes of Neymar, Aubemayang, Lewandowski, Ibrahimovic and Vardy at the time. This season has been more of the same as Manchester 62 continue to struggle near the foot of the table but in 9 games he has scored 5 goals. His only regret in his time with the reds was “not being able to help them achieve their dream to play in Europe.” However Toncheff does not close the door on a possible return to the Rock and specifically, Manchester 62.

I never close the door on opportunities to accomplish my dreams, and taking Manchester 62 remains one of them. But I believe that in life, just like in football, someday I will get that opportunity to realise it, whether it be on the pitch of off it. I don’t know when, but I know I will accomplish it.

Toncheff won many admirers during his time on the Rock and it was no surprise the avalanche of well wishes he received upon our announcement of his impending departure:

All at GFT would like to wish Cristian all the very best on his new challenge and hope to see him back on the Rock in the not too distant future.