Chiellini calls time on ‘unforgettable’ playing career

Chiellini calls time on ‘unforgettable’ playing career0

Giorgio Chiellini confirmed his retirement from football on Tuesday, capping off a trophy-laden career.

Former Italy and Juventus defender Chiellini announced his retirement from football at the age of 39 in a short social media message accompanied by a video of highlights from his 23-year career.

“You have been the most beautiful and intense journey of my life.” “You have been my everything,” Chiellini wrote.

“With you, I took a one-of-a-kind and unforgettable journey.” But now it’s time to write new chapters, face new obstacles, and add to the significant and fascinating pages of my life.”

Chiellini finished his career with Los Angeles FC in the Major Soccer League, losing the MLS Cup final to the Columbus Crew on Saturday, but he is best renowned for his exploits with Juventus and his country.

After joining Juventus in 2005, Chiellini eventually became a key member of the so-called “BBC” defense alongside Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci.

That defense trio was crucial in bringing Juve back to domestic dominance after years in the doldrums following the ‘Calciopoli’ match-fixing scandal that erupted in the run-up to the 2006 World Cup.

Between 2012 and 2020, Chiellini won nine consecutive Serie A titles and reached two Champions League finals with the Turin giants, who saluted him on social media with the statement “Warrior, captain, champion.” Thank you so much, Giorgio!”

Juve also uploaded a video of helicopters hoisting a big Juve jersey inscribed with ‘Chiellini’ and his squad number three from the pitch at the club’s Allianz Stadium.

– Italy’s hero –

Chiellini became a national hero after captaining Italy to victory at Euro 2020, when the Azzurri roared back from the brink of extinction following their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup under Roberto Mancini.

A succession of valiant defensive performances in the latter stages of the continent-wide tournament culminated in a thrilling penalty shoot-out victory over England in the final at Wembley.

The sight of him dragging back a scurrying Bukayo Saka became one of the classic images from the Euro for the Italians, who regarded Chiellini as the continuation of a long heritage of gritty defenders who do whatever it takes to win.

Chiellini, however, retired from international football last year after 117 caps and his country failing to qualify for a second World Cup in a row.

In reality, he had a mixed Italy career, reaching the Euro 2012 final but losing 4-0 to Spain.

Italy left the group stage in both 2010 and 2014, when they were defending champions, before succumbing to a historic play-off defeat to Sweden in 2017 that denied them a place in the 2018 tournament.

Chiellini also faced the humiliation of being bitten by Luis Suarez when Italy finished third behind Uruguay and Costa Rica in 2014.

His final appearance for Italy occurred in the 2022 ‘Finalissima’ match against Copa America champions Argentina, just a few weeks after leaving Juventus after 17 years.

He spent the final two seasons of his career with LAFC, where he won the 2022 MLS Cup before losing it the next weekend.

more insights