Giorgio Chiellini: No Arguements, The Future Is Now

Posted on 17/10/2010

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Many things come to mind when discussing Italy & Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini. First impressions still count for much, even in this age of instant media & perhaps the first word that comes to mind to describe him is uncompromising.
Looking back over his career the word takes on even more meaning, from his choice of clubs to his style on the pitch. His view of football gives a great insight into the reasons behind this;
“I believe the most important thing for the defender is to take the ball away from the opposing team, no matter what, & not allow any space for opponents to score goals”
Another day at the office
Today, October 15, is the fifth anniversary of Giorgio Chiellini’s Juventus debut, an ideal time to look at a man many believe should be the next captain of il Bianconeri. Before arriving in Turin however, it should come as no surprise to learn he had already made some tough choices.
A native of Pisa he began playing for hated Tuscan rivals Livorno at just six years of age, making his first team debut for the then C1 club at 16. He impressed immediately, helping Livorno earn promotion two years later. Here his career became complicated due to Italy’s co-ownership rules, but it is worth a closer look.
Roma bought half Chiellini’s rights in 2002, but left the player at Livorno. Two years later Livorno would buy him back, only to immediately sell him entirely to Juventus at a good profit. With Moggi building a team for Fabio Capello the defender was in turn sold on in co-ownership to Fiorentina, where he played a full season & again looked instantly at home – if still a little raw – in Serie A.

The following summer, in perhaps the only good deal of his last few seasons at the club, Luciano Moggi took advantage of the Viola’s perilous financial state to steal back Chiellini (among others) for an incredibly low fee. In keeping with his character it would be a tough beginning for him.
Being brought on as a substitute for Pavel Nedved in a home game against Messina would be tough enough, but not for Chiellini. Firstly Juve were in the midst of a record equalling string of victories & then the game was played out in an almost empty stadium as a protest by Juve fans against the clubs policies, with the Ultra only taking to the curva at the interval. In a complete aside, Juve won 1-0 thanks to Del Piero scoring past Marco Storari!
Obviously that summer ended with Juve in Serie B, & Chiellini stayed. In a move that would be the making of him, Giorgio would be moved from his usual left-back slot to central defence by Didier Deschamps. He looked more comfortable immediately, & began building an outstanding partnership with Nicola Legrottaglie who he credits with teaching him to play this new role.
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Proud Bandiera – Capitano Chiellini
That pairing would serve Juve upon returning to Serie A, & during that season another uncompromising first impression of Chiellini would come for British fans, probably seeing him for the first time at the opening match of the new Wembley Stadium. Playing for Italy’s Under 21 side, he received an accidental kick to the head but the captain played on, bloodstained & bandaged but still winning headers – could he try any harder to impress UK football watchers?
2008 was another busy year for Chiellini, being fundamental in the clubs pursuit of Champions League football. An inspired performance against Inter at San Siro saw him close to fighting with Ibrahimovic while keeping the Swede at bay throughout the game. He also scored two goals in a 5-2 demolition of Lazio which finally did secure third place.
The same summer his uncompromising style would raise its head again, a fully commited challenge in training would see him put captain Fabio Cannavaro out for the Euro 2008 tournament. Undaunted, the Juve man filled his spot brilliantly, in particular against Fernando Torres & Spain in the quarter final.
But to label him as nothing more than a physical central defender does a great disservice to the player he is today. Chiellini has a good range of passing & an excellent cross – testament to the time he spent both as a full back & a central midfielder earlier in his career. He is also a threat to the opposition on set-pieces, capable of weighing in with more than his fair share of goals, 19 in his time at Juventus. He possesses a great long throw as well, a weapon Juve have taken advantage on on a number of occasions.
Chiellini’s qualities have seen him named Serie A’s best defender the last two seasons, last years award being vindication for his continued excellence despite the rest of the Juventus defence collectively giving up before they ate Panettoni. It is this clear display of the non mollare mai” attitude that endears Chiellini to Juventini the world over &, combined with his great defensive capabilities, wins him many admirers elsewhere too.
No matter his background, his previous teams or his spells away one thing is clear – Giorgio Chiellini is a true Juventino. His tough style is reminiscent of Claudio Gentile, but his fairness & honesty carries echoes of the great Gaetano Scirea. An embodiment of the Juve spirit, fans are proud to see him captain the side when Del Piero & Buffon are unavailable. There could be no clearer vision of the clubs future than Chiellini wearing the armband.
Tanti auguri e felice aniversario Chiello, uno di noi.
Source: IL Tifosi
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