Juventus 'love affair' will never end for Chiellini as defender announces Italy retirement

By Sports Desk April 26, 2022

Giorgio Chiellini says his "love affair" with Juventus will never come to an end, but admits he is unsure on his next steps after confirming his international retirement.

The Italy captain announced that June's Finalissima encounter with Argentina at Wembley will be his last game for the Azzurri, a year on from success at Euro 2020.

The veteran centre-back oversaw a second successive failure by the national team to qualify for the World Cup earlier this year, ensuring their absence at Qatar 2022.

While his future on the global stage will come to a close, Chiellini says he will take time to consider his club career – but added he will always carry a torch for the Bianconeri.

"My love affair with Juventus is not ending," he stated after Juventus' win over Sassuolo on Monday in Serie A. "It will never end.

"The love is so strong that as far as I am concerned, but also I think it will never end.

"Of course, from now to the end of the season I do have to evaluate everything, talk to my family about what is best.

"Let’s reach fourth place first and win the Coppa Italia, then we’ll sit down with my two families – at home and Juventus – to figure out what is best for everyone.

"It was the same last summer. I took time and didn’t sign the new contract until after the Euros. At my age, you can’t look too far into the long-term, but that’s only natural, it’s all fine.

"I hope you can see that I am happy, relaxed and want to keep enjoying myself with my team-mates, then we'll see."

Since joining the Bianconeri in 2004, Chiellini has established himself as a central figure in Italian football, and helped the club to nine successive Scudetto titles between 2011 and 2020.

But it will likely be his efforts at Euro 2020 last year, when he steered Italy to a penalty shoot-out triumph over England at Wembley, that will stand as his defining achievement.

The joint-fourth most-capped player in Azzurri history, Chiellini added that he hopes to be available for the game with South American champions Argentina – and that it will be a fitting occasion for his farewell.

"If I'm fine, I'll play and say goodbye to the national team at Wembley, where I reached the peak of my career," he added.

"It would be great to say goodbye to the Azzurri shirt with a celebratory match like the one with Argentina. For the national team, it will be the last time."

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