Chiellini to retire in 'a couple of years', plans to become director

By Sports Desk October 25, 2019

Giorgio Chiellini only intends to play for "a couple more years" and will then turn his focus to a directorial role, with the Juventus defender not interested in coaching.

Chiellini, 35, has been out of action since damaging his anterior cruciate ligament in August and underwent surgery that was expected to keep him out until March.

However, the centre-back is confident of recovering in good time to lead Italy at Euro 2020, which could be his final international tournament after expressing a desire to retire in two years.

Chiellini is keen to stay in football but does not see himself coaching, although the former Livorno man is happy to stay patient.

"[I will play] a couple of years - not more," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I would like to have a managerial career as a director.

"[I am approaching it] with great calm because I think that the biggest mistake us footballers make once our careers are over is to think of being immediately ready.

"When you retire, for the luckiest between 35 and 40, you think you know everything about football. But then you enter the world of work where those of your age have done at least 15 years at a good level.

"And even if you go one step below, you find people who are 10 years younger than you but 10 years more experienced. So you have a gap to compensate and you have to be humbly aware of it.

"You have an important know-how from a footballing point of view, but you have to put in the other pieces. It's like a puzzle. You don't have to be in a hurry. One step a day."

Asked about coaching, Chiellini replied: "It is nice to pick a squad or train players for 30 minutes, but I do not like the life of a coach.

"Choosing a system is no longer enough, coaches have to be psychologists and motivational leaders too.

"Directors can be like an administrator of a company that has to manage at least 50 or 60 people. It is an all-encompassing life, accepting pressure and sacrifices of all kinds. It's not a kind of responsibility that I feel inside me now."

Discussing his Euro 2020 prospects, he added: "Yes, [I will be there] if nothing happens. I will arrive nice and fresh.

"[Italy coach Roberto] Mancini called me the night I got hurt, and I said to him, 'Coach, I will be back in the spring. When June comes, I will be as fresh as a rose.'

"Playing as captain of Juve and the national team, with 500 games for Juve and 100 for the national team, it gives you a different serenity. I would like to enjoy the Euros like I am enjoying the final wonderful years as a footballer."

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    "My family is doing very well in Naples and that makes me happy. It's only thanks to them that I've been here for six years because, if they weren't happy, I'd have left already," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

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    Juventus were 2-0 up and coasting at Milan on Tuesday before collapsing in utterly abject fashion.

    Three goals in five minutes turned the game on its head before Ante Rebic completed a 4-2 triumph for the Rossoneri.

    A seven-point lead with seven games remaining means Maurizio Sarri's men remain on course for the Scudetto.

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    Along with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid – both potential Champions League final opponents in these heady days for Atalanta – they are one of three teams in Europe's top five leagues to have won all their games since lockdown.

    Overall, La Dea have 20 victories this term, which is one shy of the single season record Gasperini set during his first campaign at the helm in 2016-17.


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    Indeed, the Colombia international is only the second player to score double figures in a single season via substitute appearances across the top five leagues, after Paco Alcacer did likewise at Borussia Dortmund in 2018-19.

    The dazzling firecracker at the creative centre of this explosive attack is Alejandro 'Papu' Gomez, who is set to make his 300th Serie A appearance against Juventus.

    The 32-year-old Argentinian playmaker enjoys free rein as Gasperini's number 10 and has racked up 15 assists this term – the highest single-season figure since Opta started collecting such data in 2004-05.

    Gomez has provided at least 10 Serie A assists in each of his four seasons under Gasperini and the former Catania man has 128 goal involvements in Italy's top flight overall (61 goals and 67 assists).


    GATECRASHING EUROPE'S ELITE

    A rampaging last-16 win over Valencia booked Atalanta's place in the Champions League quarter-finals, where they will take on Paris Saint-Germain when Europe's elite club competition lands in Lisbon for its concluding mini-tournament next month.

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    Only Bayern (100) and Manchester City (86) have scored more league goals than Atalanta's 85 in 2019-20.

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    - Liverpool have been repeatedly linked with a move for Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara over recent weeks. However, ESPN reports the Premier League champions will not pursue a deal for the former Barcelona star.

    - Speculation around Eric Garcia's future continues. According to Mundo Deportivo, the Manchester City defender is motivated to return to Barcelona, but the Premier League club have offered the 19-year-old a bumper contract, with his current deal expiring in 2022.

    - Jonathan Ikone is seemingly attracting some interest. Le 10 Sport reports Chelsea and Inter are interested in the Lille forward. Ikone scored three goals and provided six assists in 28 Ligue 1 games in 2019-20.

    - Will Roma get a deal done for Chris Smalling? Gianluca Di Marzio says Roma are in negotiations with Manchester United to make the defender's move permanent. The report says Roma's offer of €3m (£2.7m) to extend the loan for a season before a €15m (£13.4m) offer to make the move permanent has been deemed too low.

    - Mesut Ozil wants to see out his contract at Arsenal, with his deal expiring in 2021. The Sun reports the attacker has told friends he will only consider playing in MLS or the Turkish Super Lig after he leaves Arsenal.

    - Paris Saint-Germain could be looking to strengthen while weakening one of their Ligue 1 rivals. Foot Mercato reports PSG are interested in Lyon and France defender Leo Dubois.

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