Italian defender, Giorgio Chiellini has explained that his monster performance on the pitch helped him become a champion.
He said: “Becoming a monster on the field? I have to, it’s natural, but now I’m much calmer than when I was younger. My enemies on the field? I have many: Higuain, Icardi, Dzeko… I have to find an ‘enemy’ in every game. Being challenged by a striker is crucial for any defender.
In a long interview with Juventus teammate Wojciech Szczesny for Przeglad Sportowy, the defender who earned praise from Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho after he helped the Old Lady beat the 20-time premier league champions at Old Trafford revealed that Gianluigi Buffon was ‘more nervous’ for Italy.
Chiellini also stated why he enjoys having an ‘enemy’ on the field during games and revealed that Luis Suarez escaping a red card for biting him at the 2014 World Cup angered him.
“Football wasn’t a choice. It’s my passion and I started playing when I was five,” began the defender. I was lucky because I had the chance to do it. it was a long journey and I started to understand that I could become a professional at the age of 15-16.
“I grew up and improved year after year. My father played football too. Not at a professional level, but he played with passion with friends at weekends. Every goalkeeper is different. Gigi is unique in some things and Wojciech is different in others.
“However, the particular thing is that at the beginning, when I faced Wojciech as an opponent, he was always sincere and didn’t talk much. We dined together in his first week in Turin and he was a different person. He kept talking and smiling.
“Cannavaro said Gigi constantly yelled during games? He was worse for Italy than Juventus. I don’t know why, but with Italy he was more nervous. We need a player behind us who helps us out, so a goalkeeper isn’t only important for saves but also words.
“The secret to Juventus’ BBC defence? Our secret is that we complement each other. Now we play together less, but when we played in a back three we were perfect or at least close to it. Not only did we win things, but we did so by moving in an ideal way. I didn’t need to see Leo or Andrea. I knew all about them, their best qualities and weaknesses.
“Suarez’s bite? I wasn’t angry about that but rather the red card that wasn’t given because it was an important match and without Suarez, I don’t think that Uruguay would’ve beaten us. Leadership on the field? It’ something natural. Lippi told me something important, that champions are those who help their teammates raise their level.
“I think that’s true, looking at the likes of Cannavaro, Pirlo and Buffon. Cannavaro was a fantastic defender, one of the best at one-on-ones in our position. Pirlo was a wizard, who had eyes behind his head, while Buffon is one of the best goalkeepers in history. However, the secret to their careers has always been helping their teammates and respective teams.”
Is Chiellini the best defender in the world?