Los Angeles FC are set to add some considerable quality and experience to their ranks in the form of Giorgio Chiellini.
The 37-year-old center-back is leaving Juventus after 17 years, during which he made 561 appearances across all competitions and won a host of major honors, including nine Serie A titles.
At international level, Chiellini picked up 117 caps, winning the European Championships last year and signing off in Italy’s 3-0 Finalissima defeat to Argentina. Leonardo will now take on Italy’s captaincy.
“He’s been a great mate on the pitch and in life. A great captain,” Bonucci said of his former teammate ahead of the clash with Argentina at Wembley. “He replaced another great like Gigi [Buffon]. And starting from tomorrow I will keep on doing what I’ve always done, which is to be an example and help the team.”
Reports suggesting Chiellini will move to LAFC have been circulating for a while now and that transfer now looks set to happen in the very near future, with the veteran having left Juventus at the end of his contract.
When he departed Juventus in 2012, Chiellini’s former club and international teammate, Alessandro Del Piero, decided to continue his playing career in the A-League with Sydney FC, enjoying a productive spell in which he scored 24 goals in 48 games.
Well-placed to comment on the sort of move Chiellini is making, Del Piero believes it will be a positive experience for ‘everybody’ involved, from the player himself right down to Major League Soccer as a whole.
“He is going to enjoy a lot of sun instead of [in] Torino,” Del Piero joked to ESPN, adding: “He’s a great guy. We’ve been speaking with him for a while and I saw him last month when I was in Torino.
“It’s a good move for everybody. He’s a great guy, experienced, still healthy, and I think he’s going enjoy MLS a lot and MLS is going to enjoy him. [His] personality, his way to do work, and move to the next step. It means [he is] always focused on the victory and finding a way to win.”
Chiellini will join an LAFC sitting top of the overall standings with 29 points from 14 games, with an existing center-back group including the likes of Jesus Murillo, Mamadou Fall, and Eddie Segura.