Juventus legend Giorgio Chiellini has made a bold claim about Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola – that he helped to ‘ruin Italian football’.
Chiellini claims that despite never managing in Italy, Guardiola’s re-invited approach to the traditional centre back – that being being able to play the ball out from the back – has caused traditional Italian defenders to lose their identity.
The Italy international believes that due to coaches efforts to emulate Gurardiola’s sides, especially how they operate defensively, his country has subsequently failed to produce world class defenders as it has done so well in the past.
“Pep Guardiola spoiled and ruined the Italian defender,” Chiellini told the Daily Mail.
“He is a fantastic coach with a fantastic mind but Italian trainers have tried to copy him without the same knowledge and then in the last 10 years, we lost our identity.
“We lost our identity of [Paolo] Maldini, [Franco] Baresi, [Fabio] Cannavaro, [Alessandro] Nesta, [Giuseppe] Bergomi, [Claudio] Gentile, [Gaetano] Scirea… between 1984 and 1995, we have only [Leonardo] Bonucci. In 10 years, we didn’t launch one good defender.”
The 33-year-old retired from international duty after Italy failed to secure qualification for this summer’s World Cup in Russia, and the Italian believes a loss of defensive stability was a major factor in the failure.
“I hope now we restart and relaunch Italian football. The World Cup result is the proof of our problem.” he continued.
“Honestly, it will be like a dagger in my stomach. It will not be a good month. I will see bits and check the scores but I can’t imagine sitting at the TV to watch the World Cup at home.”