Giorgio Chiellini has expressed his excitement at the prospect of passing the important landmark of 300 Juventus appearances and outlined his determination to keep making history in the famous black and white stripes.
The defender, who joined the Bianconeri from Fiorentina in 2005, says reaching the milestone and seeing his number three shirt on display in Juventus Museum would represent a proud moment of his career.
Speaking at this afternoon’s unveiling of the club’s new partnership agreement with Samsung, Chiellini began: “It’s my ninth year here and I feel part of this city and these colours. My contract renewal isn’t a priority for now, but when the moment arrives I’ll be happy to sit down and discuss things.
“I’ve got just over ten games to go until I hit the 300 appearance mark with Juventus, and that’s something I’m proud of. Once I’ve done so my shirt will be displayed in the museum. Not many have got there and this makes me feel even more a part of the club’s future.”
Sitting alongside the 29-year-old at today’s presentation was Giuseppe Marotta, who confirmed the club’s intention to tie its prized assets down to long-term deals.
The Juventus CEO revealed: “We’re talking through the details of Vidal’s contract and, despite interest from elsewhere, he himself has said that he wants to stay with us, which is something we’re very happy about. The same also applies to Pogba and other players who have won and demonstrated their value here, such as Marchisio and Chiellini.”
Chiellini then moved on to tackle the subject of the Bianconeri’s midweek draw against Galatasaray and, more specifically, the criticism that followed from certain sections of the media.
“It’s a shame how Wednesday’s game ended because in 30 seconds we allowed our efforts to go to waste. Having said that, I think a greater balance is required when assessing things. We know we need to improve on certain aspects, but we’ve had a good start to the Serie A season and are still very much in the running as far as the Champions League’s concerned.
“People often go from one extreme to another. We were irrepressible, then in crisis, then unstoppable again. Too often the verdict is linked to the result. If we had beaten Galatasaray 2-1 people would have spoken about a ‘Super Juve’, if we had drawn 1-1 it would have been ‘Juve show great heart’ and instead, at 2-2, it’s now all about a ‘Juve disaster’. I think balance is required in every case.
“We certainly need to improve and work hard, but I think our run so far has been more than decent. Now we’ve got an important test against Milan ahead of us and it will enable us to work out the team’s current condition.”
The Rossoneri head into Sunday’s game without their talismanic frontman Mario Balotelli, who sits out the last of his three-game ban following a sending off against Napoli.
But despite enduring a mixed start to the current campaign, winning two of their opening six Serie A fixtures, Massimiliano Allegri will be heartened by his troops’ ability to battle back from losing positions after witnessing them overturn deficits against Torino, Bologna and Ajax in the dying embers.
“We hope we’ll get to that stage of the game with a two-goal lead, then we’ll look to remain alert in the final minutes. They’re an excellent side and the collective without Balotelli will give its all. We witnessed this two years ago when we faced them without Ibrahimovic. When these stars are missing the others often step up to the plate.
“They’ve certainly got a squad capable of challenging for the Scudetto and Champions League places. Let’s not forget they also started slowly last year. Then after Balotelli’s arrival in January they started dreaming of a revival that was only foiled by our fantastic run of form in spring.”
On the return of friend and former team-mate Alessandro Matri, Chiellini commented: “Unfortunately he’s still yet to get off the mark and we hope he doesn’t score his first against us, but his work goes beyond finishing and isn’t always given the credit it deserves.”
The defender is convinced this year’s title race could be the most competitive yet and believes the chasing pack will have a better idea of their chances of Scudetto glory once the table begins to take shape over the next few Serie A matchdays.
He concluded: “It won’t be easy to get there this year, because there are at least six teams well-equipped to win the championship: Milan, Roma, Napoli, Inter, Fiorentina and ourselves. The next games against Milan and Fiorentina will be two telling encounters for us and in a month’s time, after having played 10 matches, we’ll have a more realistic idea about what might happen.”