Monday, May 16, 2022

Buffon hopes Chiellini can end Juventus career with Coppa Italia triumph

SoccerNews in Serie A 11 May 2022

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Juventus great Gianluigi Buffon expressed his hopes that Giorgio Chiellini can end his Bianconeri career on a high note by defeating Inter in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday.

Massimiliano Allegri’s Juve will look to defend their Coppa Italia crown at the Stadio Olimpico and become the fifth team in Europe’s top five leagues to win their respective domestic cup at least 15 times.

The clash with Simone Inzaghi’s Inter – who have won their last two games against Juve, as many wins as in the previous 13 (D4, L7) – could prove to be Chiellini’s final swansong.

The veteran centre-back is widely expected to leave Turin at the end of the season and has been linked with a move to the MLS before using his vast experience to go into management.

Former team-mate Buffon marked his 685th and final appearance for Juve with victory over Atalanta in the Coppa Italia final last season, and the goalkeeper hopes Chiellini can follow suit.

“Chiello was my rock,” Parma man Buffon told Italian outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport

“He was, and still is, a friend I shared a good chunk of my life with. Far more than a player or simply a team-mate. We understood each other perfectly, we were aware of our strengths and limitations.

“Chiello is so demanding with himself and others, he is an example of where intelligence, hard work, dedication and passion can let you reach unthinkable heights.

“He will admit, he was not the most technically gifted player, but I cannot think of a better defender over the last 10 years.

“I hope he can leave Juve the way I did by lifting the Coppa Italia trophy.”

Another ex-Juve colleague Andrea Barzagli added that the Bianconeri will be significantly weakened without Chiellini to call upon.

“Even off the pitch, Chiellini gives a sense of belonging to Juve,” Barzagli said.

“Looking at him, you understand what winning teams are made of; you need to be a great person before being a great player. He is one of the greatest defenders in the history of the club.

“He is a complete defender. If this is the end for him at Juve, then the team will miss his leadership.”

Should Juve succeed against Inter, Allegri will become the first manager in Coppa Italia history to win the trophy five times, surpassing Sven-Goran Eriksson and Roberto Mancini (both four).

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