Italian veteran Chiellini delighted to join young LAFC squad
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Georgio Chiellini hopes Los Angeles FC’s young roster can help him rediscover, at least partially, the fountain of youth.
In return, the veteran Italian defender is looking to help the club win their first Major League Soccer championship.
“I would say LAFC is the perfect team for me because the team is full of young players. I think they can help me,” the 37-year-old Chiellini said Wednesday during his introductory press conference. at Banc of California Stadium. “It’s probably impossible for me to have the same physical characteristic as 10 years ago, but I can also bring something to them, and we have to create a good mix of experience and skills. enthusiasm with young players in order to become a winner.”
LAFC entered Wednesday night’s game against FC Dallas with the league’s best record at 10-3-3. LAFC won the Supporters Shield as the league’s top regular-season team in 2019, but had no playoff success. He missed the playoffs for the first time last year.
“The team is fantastic,” Chiellini said. “As I said before, I don’t need to change anything or add anything special. Just to add who I am and I hope to continue this way because we are at the top and we have to finish at the top, but it is a long journey.
Chiellini had been at Juventus since 2005, winning nine Serie A titles and five Coppa Italia titles. He also played his last game on June 1 for the Italian national team.
Chiellini said talks over a potential transfer to the United started last year but only accelerated in March after Italy failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup. year.
For a league where most big signings are for young forwards, Chiellini’s addition goes against the grain, but he also said something that’s commonly said in American football.
“I read in the United States that attackers, attackers sell tickets, defense wins the championship. So that’s my goal and my target,” he said.
Chiellini will give LAFC a veteran presence at center back. Eddie Segura hasn’t played this season due to a knee injury and the job has been shared between Jesus Murillo and Mamadou Fall.
Chiellini will be eligible to make his LAFC debut after the secondary transfer window opens on July 7. The club’s first match after the window opens is against rivals LA Galaxy on July 8.
Gareth Bale could also make his debut in the rivalry game dubbed El Trafico by fans of both clubs, but his immigration papers are still being processed.
The additions of Chiellini and Bale, along with the re-signing of 2019 MLS MVP Carlos Vela, should keep LAFC among the top clubs in the league for the rest of the season. But Vela said on Tuesday a lot of work remains to be done.
“It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve played in one place,” Vela said. “You have to put in the effort and you have to do what’s best for the team. Now we have a lot of talent coming in, so we just have to find what’s best for the team, put it in and go for it. It’s the only way to win a trophy.
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