Giorgio Chiellini knows what he’s best at. The Juventus defender doesn’t claim to have the same talent as Sergio Ramos or Virgil van Dijk, but he knows his importance to Juventus.
The Italian has been a key figure in the Bianconeri’s recent dominance of Italian football, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win.
“To win battles against forwards you have to be pessimistic and expect the worst,” Chiellini told So Foot. “[Andrea] Barzagli and I don’t have the stellar quality of Sergio Ramos or Virgil van Dijk.
“I have a kind of double personality. I’m quite shy and reserved, but I’m capable of anything on the pitch, just to win.”
A traditional defender, Chiellini enjoys doing his defensive work well more than contributing in attack.
“I’m very happy to win a battle,” Chiellini added. “When I make a block or stop a goal, my adrenaline increases.
“It’s a different joy than scoring a goal. It’s not comparable, but I remember those big stops in important games.
“For example, the goal I scored in the Champions League quarter-finals against Barcelona gave me a lot less joy than having stopped Harry Kane from scoring in the 89th minute against Tottenham.”
The Italian has come up against most of football’s best forwards, but has never backed down from a battle, not even against Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
“I respect Zlatan a lot,” he said. “We respect each other.
“We were teammates in my first season at Juve. I was never afraid to face him. I never took a step back.
“He became an absolute enemy by joining Inter, then a regular opponent with AC Milan and the national team.”
Juventus are one of the clubs in favour of a European Super League, and the defender himself would be interested in it happening.
“Five years ago I told [Andrea] Agnelli that I expected to play against Barcelona, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern [Munich] every week,” Chiellini said.
“For a high-level footballer, that’s the best thing.
“I want to see big changes. Perhaps a new format for the Champions League. We have to improve the product.”