Giorgio Chiellini: LAFC confirms signing of Italy, Juventus great
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini has signed with Los Angeles FC after a 17-year career at Juventus.
The Major League Soccer club announced its deal Monday for the 37-year-old Chiellini, who is committed through the 2023 season.
” I felt strongly about this new chapter of my career and (at)LAFC is grateful for this opportunity,” Chiellini wrote. “I’m thankful for all my years with Juventus and I’m looking forward to winning many more trophies in Los Angeles.”
Chiellini had been at Juventus since 2005, winning nine Serie A titles and five Coppa Italia crowns. Chiellini officially left Turin last month. He also played his final match for the Italian national team on June 1, which was unsuccessful in qualifying for the World Cup. General manager John Thorrington stated that
LAFC had been in touch with Claudio Chiellini, Claudio’s twin brother, regarding a possible move. After Italy failed to qualify for March’s World Cup, talks began again. LAFC moved aggressively to sign the veteran center back with a reputation of strong physical play and leadership as Juve’s captain.
“When you have the opportunity to get someone who does what he does, and when we have 100% confidence that he’s going to improve every player every day he’s here, it became a no-brainer,” Thorrington told The Associated Press. “His playing record speaks for itself.”
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LAFC is on top of the overall MLS standings at 9-3-2 coming out of the international break. Coach Steve Cherundolo’s team leads the league in scoring, and is also one the most defensive. Mamadou Fall and Jesus Murillo played the majority of the center back minutes while Eddie Segura was injured.
Unlike some MLS clubs, LAFC hasn’t signed many veteran players deep in the second half of their careers since beginning play as an expansion club in 2018. Instead, LAFC relies on young, saleable players around Carlos Vela, a former MLS MVP striker, who is expected announce a contract extension soon.
Thorrington stated that Chiellini’s signing was too tempting to pass up. Thorrington believes that Chiellini’s club will benefit immediately, even though LAFC will need to adjust Chiellini to a new team shortly after a full season in Serie A and international play.
” Thorrington stated that even though Chiellini may not play, it would still be worthwhile. However, his impact on the club will be far greater than when he is playing. Thorrington said, “And when he plays, he will definitely make a great group of defenders even more. He is a great communicator. He organizes. He speaks good English. He will be able to communicate with the men playing alongside him and in front. He exceeded my expectations .”
LAFC made this move with a deal using targeted money. Chiellini will not occupy one of three designated roster spots, which doesn’t count against the normal salary cap. LAFC is hoping to add a third designated team player, most likely at an attacking position, as it pursues its first MLS Cup title. We are seeing interest in MLS from players at all stages of their careers,” Thorrington stated. “We’re becoming a much more attractive place to play, and when we look at the growth of the sport in this country and the growth of LAFC, I think Giorgio will play a significant part in that.”
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