Chielleni says hardest part of MLS move was learning team-mates names

Giorgio Chielleni says the hardest part of moving to MLS was remembering the names of his new LAFC team-mates… but vows the teach his fellow defenders ‘the darker arts’ of defense

  • Giorgio Chiellini joined LAFC after 17 trophy-laden seasons with Juventus
  • The legendary Italian wants to help MLS grow while he is in the United States
  • He said he decided to head to LAFC after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup 

After 17 seasons as a Juventus player, a move to a new league and life in a different continent was always going to bring a period of adaption for Giorgio Chiellini.

But for the legendary 38-year-old Italian, the trickiest challenges came in the most surprising of ways after he joined Los Angeles FC from Juve.

‘The most difficult thing was remembering the names of all my team-mates!’ Chiellini told The Call Up this week. ‘To be honest when I arrived, I had never known anyone before, just Carlos (Vela). 

Giorgio Chiellini has opened up on adapting to life at LAFC after joining from Juventus

The legendary 38-year-old defender wants to see MLS grow during his time in America

‘But I started to see all the matches of LAFC and when I arrived, I knew the names of everyone. And the same for opponents – we play Minnesota and until a few months ago I never knew (Emanuel) Reynoso, or (Luis) Amorilla, and now I have to know!’

A World Cup winner and European champion with Italy and a nine-time Serie A winner with Juve, Chiellini has plenty of experience to pass on to the LAFC defense.

But the Italian joked it won’t always be technical advice that he will give to his new team.

‘We have a good defense and I am happy to stay with them, maybe teach them some little secrets, the heart of defending and some darker arts!’ he said. ‘But the level of defending is good. 

‘I am still fit and good, not like when I was 25 but I am still feeling good and happy to be here. I hope I can help this league continue to grow and I try to do my part. I really believe in it. I hope with my presence, MLS could be followed more in Europe. 

‘From now until 2026, the World Cup here and this league has a good chance to continue to increase its presence.’

Chiellini also revealed that Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup later this year paved the way for him to head to the United States. 

Chiellini head to LAFC after 17 trophy-laden seasons with legendary Italian side Juventus

Chiellini brings a wealth of experience to MLS and won major trophies with Italy as well 

‘I follow this league for many years,’ he explained. ‘I see how it is increasing. 

‘I have always been fascinated by the US as a life, the MLS as a league and after losing the chance to go to the World Cup, I received a call from LAFC and I started to think it is a good moment for me and my family to try this experience.’

Chiellini has so far played nine times for LAFC since his debut in July. LAFC leads the Western Conference and already has its place confirmed in the playoffs, which start from October 15.

LAFC plays next on Sunday, against Houston Dynamo. 

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