Milestone man Giorgio Chiellini could barely contain his delight as he handed his iconic number three shirt to Juventus Museum president Paolo Garimberti for its inclusion in the prestigious 300 appearance club.
The defender’s inclusion in Antonio Conte’s starting line-up for the recent 3-0 home win over Roma enabled him to celebrate an illustrious recognition which has only previously been achieved by 38 players in the club’s 116-year history.
And this evening, shortly after 18.30 CET, a “proud” Chiellini was at Juventus Museum in person to see his name become the latest addition to some of the greatest servants to ever pull on the black and white stripes.
The 29-year-old said: “I’m immensely honoured and proud to officially be part of the club’s history and know that my name and shirt will forever remain alongside those of great champions.
“It’s an achievement that repays everything I’ve given to this team. I never would have thought of reaching such a figure when I arrived eight and a half years ago.
“However, this needs to represent a starting point for other personal and team targets. One was reached a couple of days ago in Cagliari and I hope that soon we’ll be able to write other important pages in the club’s history books.”
Chiellini, who joined the club from Fiorentina back in 2005, has experienced a whirlwind of highs and lows throughout the course of his 300 appearances - but had no doubts when asked to name his most memorable game yet.
“The victory over Cagliari in Trieste that won us our 30th Scudetto. When I joined Juventus I was immediately part of a winning team, without truly realising how much effort goes in to achieve such results.
“Then, with everything that happened in the years that followed and the difficulties we came up against, I became aware of how tough it is to achieve success. That title, won without losing a game, was an unbelievable feeling.
“The game to forget? One doesn’t spring to mind. Instead I’d probably say the second season we finished in seventh place. The first is something that can happen, two in a row absolutely not.”
With another important achievement under his belt, the Azzurri international conveyed his hunger for further honours – both domestically and in Europe – before outlining his desire to make Juventus the final club of his professional career.
“I want to win with my team-mates and lift further trophies. You need to dig deep to do so, but the taste of victory is wonderful. The first part of the season has been very positive, even though there’s the regret at our exit from the Champions League.
“Now we’ve got the Europa League to play for and the final’s in Turin. Getting there would be a small dream, to chase by working hard on a daily basis. I hope that this experience can help us continue our development and gain further awareness also on an international scale. Then there’s the league and Coppa Italia - all targets within our reach, but we need to keep doing what we’re doing.
“A personal target? Ending my career wearing the black and white stripes would be a nice achievement. I joined the club as a youngster, have become a man here and Juventus is a family to me.”