MLS

Italy great Chiellini eyeing another trophy with MLS Cup

By Sports Desk December 08, 2023

With over 20 major trophies to his name and nearing the end of an illustrious playing career, 39-year-old Giorgio Chiellini could be forgiven for enjoying the latter part of his career in the heat of Los Angeles.

But the fire for another trophy to add to his cabinet still burns true ahead of Los Angeles FC's MLS Cup showdown with Columbus Crew on Saturday.

It does perhaps not have the pressure of a European Championship final against England at Wembley, or the annual tussles Chiellini's Juventus had with Milan and Inter in Italy in Serie A, but the veteran defender did not come to LA for everything Hollywood brings with it.

Opta's predictive model suggests the final is too close to call, with LAFC and the Crew both given a 34.5 per cent likelihood of coming out on top.

Chiellini helped LAFC, who were inspired by Gareth Bale, win MLS Cup last year, and despite his countless honours, he is full of desire to make it two titles in the space of two years in the United States.

"We are so happy because last year was a different journey," he told Stats Perform. "We were top of the league for all the season, the play-off for just three games before the World Cup. That was easier. We skipped the first round.

"We played all the games at home and was very different. This year we pushed it hard until June because of the [CONCACAF] Champions League, [but] then we lost the final. We spent a lot of energy on that, and we had some injuries, some periods where we were not so focused, but we came into the playoffs in good condition.

"We fought until the end. We won in Vancouver, we won in Seattle.

"And now in order to win, to take the cup, we have to win in Columbus. And we know how hard it will be, but we are very happy to be here.

"We respect Columbus a lot and the way they play, that style of play, but for sure we want to go there and try to go all the way to win."

Chiellini has a plethora of trophies to his name, including the European Championship with Italy and nine Serie A winners' medals with Juve, but there is room for another one in his cabinet.

"I'm enjoying every day I spend here, training and everything. It's my life. I love what I do," he said when asked if he was considering retirement or leaving LAFC.

"I watch more MLS games than most of my team-mates in their career in this year and a half and I love that. But it's not something I do for me. It's something normal. It's my way of life, this job, I live this life.

"I will see, but I'm enjoying it a lot and there's no heavy situation for me about this stuff, I just enjoy it and it's very fun."

Even though the Italian has been coached by the likes of Roberto Mancini and Massimiliano Allegri, Chiellini does not see his future in the dug-out, though he hopes to remain in the game in some capacity.

"I did a degree in economics and the NBA, and I always had that type of management in my mind," he said.

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