Following on from an illustrious playing career, Italian international and legendary Juventus centre half, Giorgio Chiellini, has finally confirmed his official retirement from the beautiful game of football at the princely age of 39 years old.
Originally a central midfielder, and one time winger, he pivoted to defence and the left back spot as he came through Livorno’s youth ranks and made his professional debut for them, but he did not make his name there. Moving on to AS Roma, he failed to feature and was loaned back to his former club, but when the Old Lady picked him up in 2004 (in a complex deal with Fiorentina that saw him play for them for a year) he simply never looked back, despite the odd wobble.
Highly rated as an Azzurri youth prospect, coming through the international levels from Under 15 to Under 21, his move to Juventus saw him make the U21 squad regularly, as well as the Italian Olympic squad in 2004, and he ultimately went on to win himself 117 caps for his country.
Keeping with the international front, having picked up an U19 European Championship win, he was part of the squad that took bronze at the Olympics, as well as a bronze at the Confederations Cup. Having helped himself to a European Championship runners up medal in 2012, he bettered that by skippering the side to the full trophy win in 2020, and even took a Nations League bronze in 2020/21.
As for the Bianconeri, he more than played his part in helping them to an unbelievable nine consecutive titles between 2011 and 2020, and they also lifted the Coppa Italia five times. Five Supercoppa Italiana trophies and two Champions League runners up medals also followed, along with a Serie B title in his earlier days.
Having announced his international retirement in 2022, the curtain also came down on his time in Italy and he made the move to Major League Soccer side, Los Angeles FC. Last Saturday they were beaten by Columbus Crew in the MLS Cup final, but that is unlikely to have driven his decision.
Speaking on social media, the legend explained.
“You have been my everything. With you I have travelled a unique and unforgettable path. But now it is time to start new chapters, face new challenges and write further important and exciting pages of life.”
Juventus themselves also paid tribute to their former stalwart.
“For Juventus fans, for 17 seasons, the number three stood for one thing, and one thing only: Giorgio Chiellini. You were always by our side, like a superhero ready to intervene if necessary.”
A 23 year career comes to and end, but what memories.