Sunday May 10 2020
Sniping backfires on Chiellini

Giorgio Chiellini’s criticism of Mario Balotelli and Felipe Melo in his new book may have been valid, but Livio Caferoglu feels let down by the Juventus defender.

Giorgio Chiellini’s persona on the pitch is far from squeaky clean, but off it he seemed like a thoroughly decent chap. Donating one per cent of his salary to charity, he is also one of the few footballers who value a good education, receiving a master’s degree in Business Administration back in 2017. On top of that, he played a key role in the Juventus squad taking a pay cut to help their club through the coronavirus pandemic.

So when Chiellini made the announcement that he would be releasing an autobiography, it came with the pledge to donate all proceeds to charity. Fans were naturally expecting an honest read from a player who always gave 110 per cnet on a football field and a person who prided himself on principles, offering unique insight into how he meshed a will to win at all costs with a will to make the world around him a better place.

Judging by first impressions, however, ‘Io, Giorgio’ – or ‘Me, Giorgio’ in English - has been anything but. While he promised hot takes on his ‘sporting hatred’ of Inter and scraps with various opponents, his interview with La Repubblica to promote the book was overshadowed by scathing criticism of Mario Balotelli and Felipe Melo.

“I was really let down by two players and I confirm everything I wrote in the book,” he told the newspaper. “Balotelli is a negative person, with no respect for the group. During the Confederations Cup against Brazil in 2013, he didn’t lend a helping hand for anything, he really did deserve a slap. Some people thought he was among the top five strikers in the world, but I never even considered him in the top 10 or 20.

“However, there was someone worse, Felipe Melo: really the worst of the worst. I cannot abide people who lack respect, those who always want to be contrarians. With him around, it was permanently likely to break out into a brawl. I told the directors that, too: he is a bad apple.”

To see a man of the 35-year-old’s stature resorting to cheap shots at two easy targets is hugely disappointing. He hoped that by exposing the attitudes of his two former teammates, it would reassert his reputation as the consummate professional of Calcio. Instead, it proved counter-productive. It even left some Juve supporters questioning the character of their captain.

Balotelli may have achieved far less in the game than Chiellini and is arguably more known for his off-field antics, but he would be the first to admit that he never realised his potential to be a top-five striker. He can also never be accused of not being direct in his approach, whether that be with teammates, opponents, critics – or Manchester City youth players.

“You had so many opportunities to do that since 2013, to behave like a real man, but you didn’t do it,” ‘Super Mario’ sniped back in an Instagram post. “Who knows what you’ll say one day about your current teammates, you strange captain… If this means being a champion, then I prefer not to be one.” Who knew Balotelli would emerge as the voice of reason in this row? He’s right, because as Chiellini’s career is far from over, the inevitable question will float into the minds of his teammates: will they be in the sequel?

Melo will go down as one of the Bianconeri’s worst-ever buys and, given his ability to pick a fight in an empty room, his statements should normally be taken with a pinch of salt. Yet he too was inexplicably made to sound like a more straight-forward figure than Chiellini.

“I’d like to know what incidents he was referring to. When I was in Turin, I never lacked respect for anyone: teammates, directors or Juventus in general. At this point, though, I have no respect for him. And I never will have. He says Balotelli should be slapped and I am the worst of the worst who always risked sparking a brawl? Well, he was always a coward who’d wet himself…

“Besides, it’s too easy to be nasty about someone in a book. Perhaps ‘this defender’ is still angry with me, because when I went to Galatasaray, we gave his Juve some ‘slaps’ and knocked them out of the Champions League. This is what Chiellini is like, he always acts as if he’s the greatest.”

Chiellini’s autobiography will be released on Tuesday and we may end up struggling to put it down if he chooses to focus on himself and not dig up any more dirt. Yet for a player so many regard as the backbone of Juventus and Italy to come across so spinelessly, the damage may have already been done. His cynical marketing ploy may have generated a few more clicks on social media and driven a couple-thousand more sales, but at what price?

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Have your say...
How do you know Chiellini did something cowardly/ unprofessional/ inappropriate??

Your precious TuttoSport didn't publish A WORD about it :) --ignoring it/ hoping it goes away :)))))))

Some of you act as if he said:
"My worst teammates? Balo & Melo."

--He didn't.
He was hateful & personal.
But above all, cowardly.

Nothing unexpected from someone elbowing other players then throwing himself to the ground.
(Or is that Princess Bonnucci?)
on the 11th May, 2020 at 12:14am
The question to ask is 'is he wrong about Balo or Melo?'
I mean from what I have seen of both he is spot on and he has worked with them closer than anyone here who criticising him for speaking out. I mean we all see the attitude of Balo so to see that the players also see it and don't attempt to defend him speaks volumes.
Stop looking for things to complain about, in 5 years Balotelli will write a book about how hard done by he ha been.
on the 10th May, 2020 at 11:55pm
Disappointed in Giorgio.
Always quite liked him despite playing for Juventus.
Why have book published before retirement if saying bad things about people?
His current team-mates will be wondering what he says about them behind their back.

Good publcity though.
on the 10th May, 2020 at 10:07pm
@ Cetateanu,
Chiellini can say whatever he wants. It's always nice to hear these backstories.

But as author of this article pointed out, it backfired.
Now he's portrayed as a backstabber.

I was surprised Georgio badmouthed his ex-teammates. He used really harsh words.
"Negative person. Deserves a slap. Worst of the Worst."
It's very personal, makes your blood boil.

It's obvious he never said anything to their faces, which speaks of HIS character.

Congrats to Balo, he made a perfect reply.
on the 10th May, 2020 at 9:49pm
@ Cetateanu'
I wanted to point out that Balo is an unlikeable figure.
3 months ago I said he deserves a slap, that players/ teammates dislike him, & was attacked for it.

But I'm on his side in this spat.

Luca bellow wrote it perfectly.

I believe this really was out of the blue for Balo & Melo.
Mario responded well.
Gorgio captained him in Italy squad & now backstabbed him.

It's different when Totti writes about Baldini/ Pallotta, Ronaldo about Cuper, Ibra about Pep, Zizou about Marco...
on the 10th May, 2020 at 9:07pm
only in world soccer would a player come out with a book before his career is over. Why not wait to do this until after he is done. makes no sense
on the 10th May, 2020 at 8:02pm
Chiellini plays and has been playing for the top team in Italy for almost his entire career. These two idiots play for teams nobody knows or cares about. Carry on...
on the 10th May, 2020 at 7:35pm
Pathetic trash article. It's not like it's news that a snake like Melo, and a pathetic excuse of a teammate like Balotelli were at the receiving end of Chiellini's truthful jibes. Balotelli talking about how he's not lived up to his potential? LMFAO, so what? Knowing you can be better, yet doing BS like throwing darts on youth academy players, or driving a scooter in the river as part of a drunken bet with locals speaks volumes about who Balotelli is... Article = big fat ZERO.
on the 10th May, 2020 at 7:19pm
FI with yet another cheap shot at Juventus and its captain. Trying to generate more traffic, eh? What a boulevard-style writing!
on the 10th May, 2020 at 6:49pm
@United States of Totti
You're in a rush, mate. As always regarding Juventus, you just threw yourself in a head ahead. Why so sour, anyway? Balo and Melo destroying Chiellini? Bah, c'mon, Giorgio will crush them both in a bit;)) But the point is that he POINT someone for being bad teammates, nevermind their replies. Nevermind that he told or not in thier face that, he just recall that, like we all do. It is fair or not?
on the 10th May, 2020 at 6:34pm
i cant believe that he has to resort those types of comments to generate publicity for A book,say whatever u want about Mario And Melo but he could've said it to their faces rather then in a book.funny enough lets see what he had to say about cheating dirty juventus or the fact that he injured Cannavro his captain and the racism in Italian league for which his Juventus are one of the worst team that always targeted mario with Monkey chants,,,,,,,,
on the 10th May, 2020 at 5:06pm
Beppe Rossi, I don't agree.
Balo & Melo DESTROYED Chiellini with their replies!

I'm with paolo on this:
Giorgio would never say these things to them, but when you're writing/ selling a book, you need to reveal some things that you otherwise wouldn't.

Balo is a bad apple.
ONLY THIS MONTH two teammates (Materazzi & Chiellini) said he deserves a slap!
Several players already stated this, yet some people still defend Balo...

Totti is still receiving congratulation messages for kicking him!
on the 10th May, 2020 at 4:58pm
Beppe Rossi, I don't agree.
Balo & Melo DESTROYED Chiellini with their replies!

I'm with paolo on this:
Giorgio would never say these things to them, but when you're writing/ selling a book, you need to reveal some things that you otherwise wouldn't.

Balo is a bad apple.
ONLY THIS MONTH two teammates (Materazzi & Chiellini) said he deserves a slap!
Several players already stated this, yet some people still defend Balo...

Totti is still receiving congratulation messages for kicking him!
on the 10th May, 2020 at 4:58pm
There is no need to make snide comments about anyone - especially someone in the same profession and in print. It lacks dignity and maturity.
on the 10th May, 2020 at 4:31pm
Nah, you got it worng;) Or, at least, you threw straw on the fire from the worng side;) It's just WRONG to condemn a player like Giorgio Chiellini for pointing out 2 bad apples. WE ALL KNOW they are bad apple, c'mon. It's not a story, really. It's not like he pointed out... Totti or Del Piero, c'mon again:)) We should appreciate the sincerity and not make a fuss about it. If he would make a top ten from his favourite teammates, that would be ok, but top 2 of not-so favourite it's unacceptable?
on the 10th May, 2020 at 3:59pm
How exactly has it backfired? It's the man's personal experience. Are we all going to suddenly act as people the like of Felipe Melo and Mario Balotelli don't have personalities akin to literal garbage? I wish Chiellini would go in MORE on these type of clowns. Melo can flaunt about his Confederations Cup and Galatasaray-Juventus wins that ultimately led nowhere, in 50 years, no one will remember him while Chiellini has cemented a legacy for a lifetime.
on the 10th May, 2020 at 3:51pm
What a trash article. Giorgio actually shows exactly why he was the mature leader, and clowns like Balotelli and Melo were nothing but adolescent children who showed no respect on or off the pitch.
on the 10th May, 2020 at 3:24pm
It would have been worse if it had come across as sour grapes, like making personal attacks on Sergio Ramos for example. But it doesn't, he does have a point on both the players, and as much as it is a marketing ploy, I'm not going to buy the book and also take his comments with a pinch of salt regardless. Bit of a non-issue really.
on the 10th May, 2020 at 2:39pm
he is trying to publicise his book even if what he says is true he should have gotten some one else to back up those statements.

it not like we haven't seen this tactic used before this is relatively inoffensive, especially compared to the more extreme examples of other people making up dangerous lies to sell books.

It is pretty much a storm in teacup give it a year and this will be forgotten about.
on the 10th May, 2020 at 2:11pm

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