NEWS
Thursday February 4 2021
Chiellini: 'I don't have the qualities of Van Dijk or Ramos'

Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini admitted he 'doesn't have the qualities' of Virgil van Dijk or Sergio Ramos.

In an wide-ranging interview with So Foot, Chiellini spoke about his character on the football pitch and his wish to play against the very best every week.

But he started with his rivalry with Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic and how the Swede ‘became an absolute enemy’ when he moved to Inter in August 2006.

“I have to find a rivalry to give my best,” Chiellini told So Foot. “I respect Zlatan very much, we respect each other.

“We were teammates in my first season at Juve. I was never afraid to face him, never took a step back.

“He became an absolute enemy by moving to Inter, then a simple opponent at Milan or with the national team.”

Chiellini said the duels and goals stopped at the back gives him a better feeling than scoring at the other end and conceded that he 'doesn't have the same qualities' of Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.

“I’m very pleased to win a duel,” he continued. “When I block a dangerous shot or save a goal, I get an adrenaline rush.

“It’s a different joy from scoring, it’s not comparable, but those saves in the important games, I still have them inside me.

“The goal I scored in the quarter-finals of the Champions League against Barcelona gave me much less satisfaction than when I stopped Harry Kane from scoring in the 89th minute.

“That match against Tottenham was very tight. There was the hug with Gigi Buffon and [Andrea] Barzagli after. A strong moment.”

“To win duels with forwards, you have to be pessimistic and foresee the worst. It’s the price reserved for “normal” players like me or Barzagli.

“Don’t get me wrong, Andrea was a very good defender, but we don’t have the qualities of Sergio Ramos or Virgil van Dijk.”

But the veteran said he’s different off the pitch.

“I’m rather shy and reserved, but on the pitch, I’m capable of doing anything to win.”

The 36-year-old’s contract expires in June 2021 and was asked about his thoughts of retiring from football without fans in the stands.

“Without fans, it’s not football,” Chiellini added. “The emotions are lacking. However, it’s always better than nothing.

“Unfortunately, you have to adapt.”

The Italy international revealed he wants to play in the biggest games and doesn’t seem to be against a new format, like the controversial Super League.

“Five years ago, I told President [Andrea] Agnelli that I hoped to play every week against Barca, Real, PSG, Bayern.

“For a high-level footballer, it’s the best. I hope to see some major changes. Perhaps with a new format of the Champions League.

“The football product needs to be improved. With COVID, we are stuck and growth has given way to uncertainty."