Giorgio Chiellini hopes Matthijs de Ligt is not taken away from Juventus by agent Mino Raiola, as he feels his defensive colleague already “has everything”.
Now 37, Juve captain Chiellini is in the final years of his career, but the future of the Turin giants appears to be in the hands of De Ligt.
The former Ajax captain is still just 22 and is settled in Serie A in his third season with the Bianconeri.
De Ligt underwhelmed a little following his €75million transfer to Italy but has since performed well, last committing an error leading to a chance in the league in his debut 2019-20 season.
Although De Ligt has been limited to six appearances this term, with veteran duo Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci preferred against Inter on Sunday, he is certainly becoming a more dominant defender.
No Juve defender is contesting (4.5) or winning (3.4) more aerial duels per 90 than De Ligt in 2021-22, while his overall duel success rate for the season is up significantly to 67.4 per cent.
Indeed, Chiellini believes De Ligt has the full package, telling DAZN: “He’s very strong, I call him Thor.
“If he had been Italian, it would have been easier to keep him for many years, I hope that Mino will give us the pleasure of leaving him a few more years in Turin.
“He has everything, but the difference is made in the head; he is 22 years old but has the mentality of someone of 30, and he sets himself the goal of wanting to improve every day.”
De Ligt arrived at Juve as Andrea Barzagli retired, but he still finds himself competing with the other two members of the great ‘BBC’ back line.
That might not have been the case, however, as Bonucci briefly left for Milan – a move that upset Chiellini.
“I was hurt. That Milan was a team in difficulty, it was not Real Madrid or even Milan of now,” he said. “Today it would be different, but at the time going there meant taking a clear step back.
“The choices remain personal and must be respected, but if we had been on holiday together that summer I would have made him understand that he was making a mistake. He realised it very soon.”
Chiellini also could have been out the door by now, revealing he considered retiring following the coronavirus outbreak but played on to star at Euro 2020, where Italy won the title.
“I lived a hard period after my injury,” Chiellini said. “I returned after six months and shortly after COVID broke out, and for almost a year I struggled to find the right balance.
“The thought of retirement made its way into my head but it was the European Championship that kept me going with the desire to be there at all costs.”
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