Giorgio Chiellini will leave Juventus at the end of the current season. The legendary defender announced his decision after losing the Coppa Italia final at the Stadio Olimpico against Inter Milan. Chiellini has’t decided yet if the next two matches will be his last ones as a soccer player or if he will continue on somewhere else.
Should he keep playing, one of his most likely destinations or at least another year is MLS where several different clubs have shown interest in him. That decision will come in the coming weeks, but first the focus is on giving his last goodbye to the fans that supported him ver the last fifteen years. On Monday he will play his last home match in Turin against Lazio while his last match in a Juventus jersey will be on May 22 against Fiorentina, where he played one season before joining Juventus in 2005.
Chiellini told SportMediaset after the match: “On Monday I will celebrate and will say goodbye to my Juventus Stadium, but I leave a legacy to many young players. Now I need to speak with my family and with Juventus as well. I’m happy to leave this club at a high level. I feel the younger players need more space so that they can take more responsibility for not only twenty games, but also fifty per year. I’m happy, It was my choice,” he said. “Very soon I will take a final decision about my future as a player but in the meantime I think about the National Team and my last match at Wembley against Argentina.”
Where could Chiellini end up in MLS?
Chiellini has generated interest from three MLS teams but Los Angeles FC has a leg up due to having Chiellini’s discovery rights. That means that Chiellini is on a list of seven players that LAFC would have the right of refusal to if they were to come to MLS. These rights can be traded if the team would like, but with Eddie Segura still recovering from an ACL injury, Steve Cherundolo could use depth to improve his defense. It’s a signing that could make sense for them.
If LAFC were to pass on Chiellini, the Vancouver Whitecaps are also interested as is at least one other unnamed MLS side. They would have a tougher time convincing Chiellini of their project than the Western Conference leading side, but with Italian coach Vanni Sartini one the sideline, it’s easy to see how Chiellini might find the transition easier. So, even for a 37-year-old defender, Chiellini will have no shortage of suitors as he exits Italy.
With Juventus Chiellini played 559 matches and scored 36 goals. He won nine Serie A titles, one Serie B title, five Supercoppa Italiana and five Coppa Italia. Also with the Azzurri Chiellini lifted the trophy last year of the UEFA Euro 2020 after beating England at Wembley in a thrilling penalty shootout.
Chiellini is one of the most iconic living legends of Italian soccer and now Juventus need to find a replacement even if it will very difficult to replace such a personality, especially inside the dressing room. As of now Juventus have on the roster as center-backs Leonardo Bonucci, Matthijs de Ligt and Daniele Rugani and will definitely be looking for another center-back in the summer.
Being such a well traveled defender is something that makes Chiellini so interesting to MLS sides. Even if he’s not able to provide starting quality minutes on the field, having him around to help young defenders is an invaluable experience. Signings like Chiellini will help move MLS defending into a new era similar to how signings like Carlos Vela helped bring the league into a new attacking era.