5 Minutes with Giorgio Chiellini

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You were a little too young to be a part of the Italian World Cup winning team 6 years ago. Does that success inspire you and the current players to win another trophy?

In 2005/2006 I was part of the national team with a few appearances, but then I was not able to play continuously with Juventus, so consequently I lost my position in the national team. But anyway, the Italian World Cup victory gave an unbelievable shake to Italian Football and to all of us, so it was definitely very important.

As a centreback your main job is to protect the Italian goal. Who are the best strikers that will be playing in this tournament that you will be looking out for?

There will be many great strikers in this tournament. For example Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney and Karim Benzema, just mention a few big names.

Playing against Spain will be difficult as their midfield has so much talent. How will you defend against this?

We have to keep the pressure high, maintain attention and focus as much as possible. 

You will also meet the Irish team in the group stage, which is managed by the former Azurri manager Giovanni Trapattoni. Does the fact that he knows he Italian team so well give Ireland an advantage?

Trapattoni is a football ‘maestro’ and he will definitely have a strong desire to prove his best in our challenge, but we are ready for that and we will face them in the best way possible.

What would winning this tournament mean to you? 

For me it would be second dream turning into reality after just winning the ‘Scudetto’ with Juventus this year. 

Is there an excitement in Italy for this tournament?

We have the right concentration, and the awareness of a group which want to do its best.

Do you feel the pressure to meet the expectations of the Italian fans?

No pressure at all.

Italian defenses historically have been a main reason for Azurri’s successes - some legendary defenders have worn the Italian shirt. How good is this current defense, including your Juventus teammate Gigi Buffon?

Our defense is really solid and well combined as loads of its elements played together in Juventus for a while, that is Buffon, Bonucci, Barzagli and me.

If Italy doesn’t win, who would be your prediction to lift the trophy? 

I would say Spain or England.

Football