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The defensive marvel

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As football tactics are evolving to make defenders effectively ball-players first and defenders second, the art of robust defending is dying. That art has taken a huge hit now with Italian defensive marvel Giorgio Chiellini announcing his retirement from football. Giorgio Chiellini’s trophies in his career speak volumes of the impact he had on his teams throughout his career.

Here is a rundown of all major Giorgio Chiellini trophies in a career full of them:

9x Serie A

You really couldn’t have started anywhere else. Chiellini played a huge role in turning Juventus into the behemoth it is today with his stout defensive play, leadership skills, and organisational ability.

Be it next to fellow veterans like Andre Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci, or leading the next great crop of centre-backs like Daniele Rugani, Chiellini was the ever-present field marshall in an era that will be heralded as one of the most dominant periods by an Italian team in Serie A.

With him being the backbone of the defence, Juventus won these titles on the trot (2011/12 to 2019/20), a practically unheard-of achievement in a normally competitive Serie A. His impact on the team can be seen in the fact that since he left the club, Juventus have been ousted from their throne multiple times, with AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Napoli winning a title each.

Also read: Why are Juventus called ‘The Old Lady’?

There are whispers that Chiellini might return to Juventus in some sort of organisational role with the board. If he can replicate even half of his organisational abilities in the boardroom, that is a shrewd appointment by the Old Lady.

5x Italian Cup

It really says a lot about the dominance of Juventus in that era that even when they weren’t taking the domestic cup with utmost seriousness, they still added five of those to Giorgio Chiellini’s trophies by the time he left the club.

Four of these came on the trot as well, with Juventus starting the streak in 2014/15 and winning till 2017/18. This was the golden period within their golden period, as they also reached a Champions League final against the famed “MSN” Barcelona, losing 3-1 in a valiant effort.

5x Italian Super Cup

Of course, once a team wins the league so often and adds to it by winning the domestic cup as well, they are the prime contenders for the Italian Super Cup.

Even so, emerging victorious five times in a one-off game, for a trophy that wouldn’t be high on their list of priorities is a show of that team’s attitude, personified by Chiellini.

Now to the crown jewel of Giorgio Chiellini’s trophies-

Euros in 2021

Just three years after failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in their history, Italy went into Euros 2021 with more hope than expectation.

The old guard of Bonucci and Chiellini manned the backline which topped their group without conceding a single goal. Chiellini came off due to injury in their second group stage game but returned like a phoenix from the ashes to script a glorious run.

Nearly 38 years old, Chiellini returned for the quarterfinal against Belgium, as Italy knocked off Belgium, Spain, and England in a remarkably difficult route to the trophy.

His partner in glory, Leonardo Bonucci earned most of the headlines as he combined his game with crucial goals as well, but Chiellini was again the leader of that team which relied on his experience in crunch moments to pull through.

It handed Chiellini his only international trophy as he showed the world that their was life yet in the old lion.

He would prove the same with his final major trophy…

MLS Cup- 2021/22

Ageing player moves to the USA for a final payday and a spell of playing football at a lower pace with lessened expectations. Tell that to the ultimate competitor Giorgio Chiellini.

After leaving Juventus, the man-mountain moved to LAFC but anyone who thought it was a paid holiday was proved wrong immediately.

With his vast experience and pedigree, Chiellini became a locker room leader there as well and guided LAFC to the ultimate prize in American football (soccer)- The MLS Cup.

Chiellini made just 11 appearances throughout the season, but his mentality permeated through the squad. In what was just their fifth season in MLS, LAFC went all the way after not even making the playoffs the previous year.

Chiellini would forever leave a mark as to what an ideal MLS marquee signing looks like.

 

Vatsal Gupta
A die-hard Red Devil, who has straight up not had a good time since 2012. Lives on Korean dramas and books and can often be heard talking about armchair psychological stuff.

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