'Juventus breed winners' - Samuel Iling-Junior explains Chelsea exit as he makes 'history' admission
- Iling-Junior spent almost nine years at Chelsea
- Joined Juventus at 16
- Insists there is "no bad blood with Chelsea"
WHAT HAPPENED? The 19-year-old was part of the Chelsea academy from a very young age and after spending almost nine years with the Blues' various youth teams, he jumped ship to Italy and joined Juventus at 16.
Since moving to Turin from West London in 2020, the winger has gradually climbed up the ladder and made his Serie A debut against Empoli on October 21, 2022, replacing Filip Kostic in the 84th minute.
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WHAT THEY SAID: In an interview with The Times, when Iling-Junior was asked whether it would have been easier to join another English club he explained: "Yes, definitely, but that’s the thing, in football you have to be fearless. I have no bad blood with Chelsea. They will always have a special place in my heart, I grew up there, I was there from eight years old so of course they tried to keep me, but I just had my head tilted at Juventus.
“Mostly it was because of their history. You look at the amount of trophies they’ve won and the people who have played for the club. It’s not a small club. It’s easy to be attracted to a club like Juventus, they breed winners. So it was what I needed to do to become a winner.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Iling-Junior was handed his Champions League bow against Benfica in the group stages earlier this season, and the youngster made the most of the opportunity by providing an assist to Arkadiusz Milik within seven minutes of his introduction.
"The dream of playing in the Champions League is what you talk about with your friends when you are younger," he added.
"It’s what you dream of, every time you step out onto the pitch I want to be at that level. I was quite relaxed because I didn’t expect to come on so when I was told to get ready, we were losing at the time, so I didn’t feel that much pressure. When I got on the ball I just did what I would normally do, dribble, or make a pass, and to be able to impact the game helped a lot."
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WHAT NEXT? Iling-Junior will hope to at least make the matchday squad when the Bianconeri host Sporting CP at the Allianz Stadium on Thursday in the Europa League.