The Church of Chiesa keeps on getting new parishioners, and Federico Chiesa’s impact off the bench for Italy on Saturday only served to bring more admirers his way.
Following in his father Enrico’s footsteps, Federico’s extra-time goal against Austria made himself and his father the only father and son pair to score in the European Championship.
At Anfield on June 14, 1996, Enrico scored against the Czech Republic in a 2-1 loss for the Azzurri and 25 years and 12 days later, Federico opened the scoring at Wembley as Italy won to reach the quarter-finals.
“It was hard to stay calm,” Federico Chiesa said of his celebration on Saturday. “I had a lot of emotions inside but I managed to control them.
“It’s impossible to describe how I felt in words.”
The record is nothing new for the Chiesa family, though. During the 2020/21 season, they became the first father and son pair to have scored a brace in the Champions League, though neither was of any real significance. Enrico scored for Parma as they failed to get out of the group stage, whereas Federico netted in Juventus’ elimination against Porto.
Quick, unsettling and undoubtedly talented, the sky appears to be the limit for the younger Chiesa since he joined Juventus from Fiorentina. With La Viola he often frustrated and failed to hit the high expectations that surrounded him.
Enrico, though, has said that “he has the desire to go very far,” explaining that the two have a lot in common as far as their character is concerned, if not technically.
“When I was young,” Federico said, “I never played in the youngest age groups. I only played once and I didn’t even start.
“At 13 I had a bad time. I saw my teammates grow physically and improve technically and it was difficult for me to keep up so I had to go down an age group to play. It was so tough that I thought about giving up.”
Ten years on at 23, though, Chiesa has 196 first-team games to his name between Juventus and Fiorentina, recording 48 goals and assisting 35 in those. On top of that, he’s played 29 times for his country.
Although Roberto Mancini has preferred to start Domenico Berardi for Italy this summer, Chiesa has given his coach a decision to make. He was the star of the match in the win over Wales and came off the bench to play a huge role against Austria.
“I’ve started as a substitute but it’s never too late to come on,” Chiesa said. “Mancini has no fixed starters and we can all play.
“We saw that against Wales and now against Austria.”