Giorgio Chiellini has signed an 18-month contract with LAFC in the MLS.
Chiellini announced his deal with the LA club after his contract with Juventus was terminated. The central defender also retired from the Italian national team this month. Chiellini was a target for the MLS last year, but opted to stay in Turin after Massimiliano Allegri was reappointed as Juventus’ manager.
“I felt very strongly about this new chapter in my career and I’m grateful to LAFC for this opportunity”, Chiellini wrote on his Instagram page. “I’m thankful for all my years with Juventus and I’m looking forward to winning many more trophies in Los Angeles,” the 37-year-old added.
LAFC, who is an MLS title contender, will strengthen at the back with Chiellini’s signing, but will also get added value in the locker room, considering Chiellini’s leadership skills. The club won the Supporters’ Shield in 2019 in their second season since joining the MLS.
LAFC now leads the Western Conference after 14 games with a 9-2-3 record. They hold a four-point advantage over FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake. LAFC has the best-attacking record of the season so far, netting 29 times. They’ve conceded 16 times, with only five teams having a safer defense.
‘I think he’s unique’
Since their inaugural MLS season in 2018, LAFC has been involved in investments related to younger players. Club general manager John Thorrington said it was an easy decision to change strategy regarding Chiellini.
“I don’t think there is a mold like him. I think he’s unique,” the official told ESPN. “You can’t think of another player who has his track record of being a captain and a serial winner, and all the rest. It’s not as though there are a lot of these players,” Thorrington added.
“That is why it was such a no-brainer for us. Once we sat with him, we understood his motivation to choose LAFC,” Thorrington explained.
Giorgio Chiellini is Black & Gold.
— LAFC (@LAFC) June 13, 2022
Chiellini spent 18 years with Juventus, having joined from Livorno in 2004. He went on to win nine Serie A titles and five Italian Cups. At the international level, he won the European Championship with Italy. He is also the third all-time most-capped Italian player with 117 games for the Azzurri.
LAFC is at +450 to win the MLS Cup this year. Bookies regard them as favorites ahead of defending champions NYCFC at +800, Philadelphia Union at +1000, and the LA Galaxy and Austin FC, who are both at +1300.