Unlike his fearsome personality on the football pitch, Giorgio Chiellini is soft-spoken off the field. The Juventus and Italy centre-back has a well-earned reputation as a football bully, brute and brawler but there is a huge discrepancy between his on and off-pitch personas.
The 32-year-old will be a key figure for Juventus in the Italian Super Cup final against AC Milan at Al Sadd stadium tomorrow night. And one can expect Chiellini to get back to his brutal best.
But yesterday, the Italian at the Aspire Zone was all smiles as he blended in, posed for selfies with the local fans while also taking part in a training session with his Juventus teammates.
It’s the Italian’s second time in Doha and he enjoys coming to the Qatar capital, especially with weather this time of the year here far less cold than in Turin.
“It is my second time in Qatar and the atmosphere now is very good for players and the weather is wonderful for football. Aspire is something wonderful, the facilities are just first class,” Chiellini said.
With Qatar hosting the World Cup in 2022, Chiellini said he won’t hang around playing football till then but expected the tournament to be a huge success. “I hope we can have a very good World Cup in 2022. We feel the passion for football among the locals here. Qatar is capable of hosting a great World Cup,” the defender, who has played 90 times for Italy, said.
Chiellini whose Juventus contract will come to end next year, ruled out any move to Chinese Super League, currently world football’s most lucrative market.
“I cannot talk about my future now. It is impossible to talk about China, Australia, Qatar and the MLS. I wish the best for the players who decide to play in China,” is all he would say.
Earlier this year Chiellini was among those said to be on the Chelsea’s transfer radar, with the 32-year-old having previously worked with Blues’ manager Antonio Conte in Turin and with the Italy national side.
Chiellini also said he would not follow in the footsteps of former Real Madrid and Barcelona greats Raul Gonzalez and Xavi Hernandez to play professional football in Qatar.
In the absence of fellow key defenders Leonardo bonucci and Dani Alves, Chiellini will have to play an even bigger role tomorrow against Milan and the left-back expects a tough test from San Siro side.
“Historically Milan is a strong team and it will be a good match. We expect a high level competition between the two teams. This season they are in the top level of the league; we expect a highly competitive match and we have full respect for them because they are contenders for the championship this season,” Chiellini said.
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