Giorgio Chiellini bid farewell to his illustrious football career today, announcing his retirement from the sport. The 39-year-old former Italy and Juventus defender shared the news through social media.
In his message, Chiellini expressed gratitude to football, describing it as “the most beautiful and intense journey” of his life. He acknowledged the unique and unforgettable path travelled but said it was time to embark on new chapters, face fresh challenges, and script additional significant and exciting pages of life.
While concluding his career at Los Angeles FC in the Major Soccer League, with his final match being the MLS Cup final defeat to Columbus Crew, Chiellini’s legacy is most prominently associated with his contributions to Juventus and the Italian national team.
Having joined Juventus in 2005, Chiellini played a pivotal role in the renowned “BBC” defence alongside Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci. This defensive trio played a crucial role in rejuvenating Juventus domestically following the ‘Calciopoli’ match-fixing scandal, securing nine consecutive Serie A titles between 2012 and 2020. They also reached two Champions League finals.
Following 17 years at Juventus, Chiellini concluded his career with a two-season stint in the United States with LAFC, winning the 2022 MLS Cup before relinquishing the title in his final match over the weekend.
Juventus paid tribute to Chiellini on social media, acknowledging him as a “Warrior, captain, champion” and expressing gratitude for his contributions. A video posted by the club depicted helicopters lifting a giant Juventus jersey, adorned with ‘Chiellini’ and his iconic squad number three, from the pitch at the Allianz Stadium.
Chiellini’s international career
Chiellini achieved national hero status by captaining Italy to victory at Euro 2020, a tournament where Italy triumphed after their previous setback of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. His tenacious defensive displays, culminating in a thrilling penalty shoot-out win over England in the final at Wembley, solidified his place in Italian football history.
Despite mixed fortunes in international competitions, including a Euro 2012 final defeat to Spain and early exits in World Cups, Chiellini’s commitment and resilience were undeniable. His departure from international football last year marked the end of a career which included 117 caps.