'He literally watches every game' - Giorgio Chiellini was an MLS superfan even before he joined LAFC
- Chiellini arrived from Juventus
- Already knew everyone at LAFC
- Obsessively watches MLS games
WHAT HAPPENED? Chiellini is an icon in Europe but not necessarily someone who would have been expected to track American soccer closely. But the Italian impressed his new MLS teammates when he came to the United States in 2022, and he quickly built bonds with players in the locker room.
WHAT THEY SAID: “He actually surprised me because he literally watches every single MLS game,” Acosta said to the Los Angeles Times. “He knows all the players. When he first came in, he already knew my name and where I played previously, and how many games."
Added Chiellini: “I arrived here in order to enjoy this league, discover new things, understand how is soccer now, at what level, in the U.S. And also in order to understand a different view of the sports business and sports here. It’s a huge difference."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Unlike Gareth Bale, who retired after a partial season in MLS, Chiellini is back for the 2023 campaign to help LAFC defend their MLS title. At 38, he's not quite ready to end his career but will take life day-by-day.
“It’s very hard thinking about the next year,” he said. “I have learned in my career after 30, then 32 and imagine now at 38, that you can’t have a long plan because everything changes so quickly. You have to be ready to adapt. I’m living in the moment.”
IN TWO PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR LAFC? Chiellini and Co. begin the 2023 campaign with an El Trafico rivalry game against the LA Galaxy on Saturday.