Reading goalkeeper Vito Mannone reflects on MLS adventure with Minnesota United

Vito Mannone named 2019 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year

Vito Mannone celebrates Minnesota's win over New York Red Bulls
Image: Vito Mannone has been a standout performer for Minnesota United this season

Vito Mannone says he has enjoyed every minute of his "tremendous adventure" in Major League Soccer with Minnesota United as his loan spell from Reading comes to an end.

The 31-year-old former Arsenal stopper was a revelation at Minnesota under ex-Everton forward Adrian Heath, and has been recognised for his outstanding form this season with the 2019 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year accolade.

Minnesota's season is over following this week's 2-1 MLS Cup defeat to LA Galaxy at their Allianz Field home, which opened to great fanfare back in April.

But Mannone is proud to have played his part for Minnesota in what has been a successful campaign on and off the field for the MLS expansion franchise.

"It's been a tremendous journey and a tremendous adventure. In general I loved every minute of it," Mannone told NBC.

"It's always tough when you change countries. You bring your family out in a new place. It's never easy, not an easy job. But I had a feeling from the first chat I had with the club - I felt like it was a good project.

Vito Mannone
Image: Mannone's Reading contract is set to expire at the end of the season

"As soon as I landed here, they treated me with respect and they showed me I was an important piece of the puzzle.

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"Opening a new stadium, meeting news fans everything went really well. We started to climb and we got better and better.

"We moulded as a team, new players, youngsters with veterans, and we had a magnificent cup run.

"It was the third year for this club in MLS, we reached the playoffs, we beat big clubs. We had an amazing season in a new stadium with special fans.

"Everything has been fantastic. I had a few objectives coming here and I successfully fulfilled all my dreams, also becoming Goalkeeper of the Year. You cannot ask for more."

Vito Mannone is set to to leave Sunderland
Image: Mannone made 80 appearances across four seasons at Sunderland

Mannone began his career at Atalanta before being snapped up by Arsenal as a teenager. He has since played for Sunderland and is now in the final year of his Reading contract, having made the switch to Berkshire in 2017.

Asked if he knows what his next move is, Mannone said: "No, this season has just finished and I put 100 per cent into it until the very last minute.

"We were unfortunate not to go through against Galaxy and it's a bit of pain but I can't take anything away from the great season.

"I want to relax, sit down, see my options. I just talked to the club and it's a good situation right now. I want to sit down with my agent, talk with my family, and see where we can go from here."

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