Chiellini sees bright future for Italy and says Euro 2024 predictions 'too pessimistic'

By Sports Desk December 11, 2023

Italy great Giorgio Chiellini believes the Azzurri have a bright future ahead of them and says critics have been overly pessimistic regarding their chances at Euro 2024.

Chiellini captained Italy as they overcame England in the final of Euro 2020, but the Azzurri have not been widely tipped to retain their crown after enduring a difficult few years.

Having missed out on the last two World Cups, Italy somewhat scraped their way through qualifying for next year's tournament in Germany, losing home and away to England and requiring a nervy 0-0 draw with Ukraine on the final matchday to avoid the playoffs.

Ahead of Luciano Spalletti's first major tournament in charge, Italy have been drawn to face Spain, Croatia and Albania in a difficult-looking group, but Chiellini believes reports of the Azzurri's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

"I know the Italian draw very well. Croatia and Spain are good teams with experience, with good players," the defender told Stats Perform.

"Albania is our biggest friend that we face. We are very happy that they joined the Euros. I have a lot of Albanian friends and they deserve it. We have to respect that. 

"Obviously, we will try to pass through the group, arrive in the quarter-finals and then we'll see. We have seen also in the last [Euros], we were lucky. 

"I guess also in the round of 16 [against Austria], and we were lucky to win on penalties in the last two games, but at the end we deserved to win. 

"There is a good cycle, a new cycle, with good young players. I think that could be a good spine for the national team. 

"I don't know if they need maybe more time to be in the right moment and in their prime to win, but there is a bright future for the Italian national team."  

Asked who excited him most in the current Italy setup, Chiellini said: "I think [Gianluigi] Donnarumma is by far the best young goalkeeper that we could have and he's really special.

"[Alessandro] Bastoni is a fantastic defender and we have a lot of amazing midfielders. [Marco] Verratti is just 31, he's not 40 like me! We have a good midfield.

"[Federico] Chiesa is someone that could break every line in every moment of the game. Italy have a good team. 

"Now I hope that there are new faces arriving because we have a good academy for the national team, with players coming through. 

"We have a good coach, everything is good. Sometimes in Italy, we are too pessimistic with the team and we talk badly, but I think that we have a bright future and a really good team."

Related items

  • Michel hails 'incredible' season but admits Girona face battle to replicate success Michel hails 'incredible' season but admits Girona face battle to replicate success

    Michel saluted an "incredible" season for Girona, but admitted it will be hard for his side to emulate their exploits next term.

    The Blanquivermells have enjoyed a campaign to remember in LaLiga, topping the table on several occasions before eventually finishing third and securing Champions League qualification for the first time.

    Michel's side capped the season with the biggest win in the club's history, as Artem Dovbyk scored a hat-trick in a 7-0 rout of already relegated Granada at Estadio Municipal de Montilivi.

    Their final total of 81 points makes them one of only four teams to reach that tally in LaLiga's current format, along with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

    But Michel already has his sights set on next season, during which he knows Girona will have to work hard to repeat their success - especially with several players expected to leave the club.

    "I'm feeling a bit down because good things are over," he told reporters. "We achieved something very important. The day-to-day of the season has been incredible.

    "The counter resets to zero. We will start to fight for a great season to come, and that's what we will do from tomorrow onwards.

    "The dynamics of football tell you that there won't be the same players or the same season. The problem is that many people will be missed.

    "We are growing, and we have to continue taking steps forward. We have to lay the first stone, rest, recover, celebrate this great success and, from next week, start planning to put Girona as high as possible."

  • Simeone concedes 'it is not easy' for Atletico to compete with Madrid Simeone concedes 'it is not easy' for Atletico to compete with Madrid

    Diego Simeone believes Atletico Madrid have fallen short of their objectives this season, but conceded it is difficult to compete with the "best team in the world" in Real Madrid.

    Although they are set for a fourth-place finish in LaLiga, Los Rojiblancos are 21 points adrift of Carlo Ancelotti's newly crowned champions. 

    Atleti fell to Borussia Dortmund following a 5-4 aggregate defeat in the Champions League quarter-finals, while they were soundly beaten by Athletic Club in the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

    And as a third successive trophyless season comes to pass at the Metropolitano Stadium, Simeone admits his side could have done better.

    "We have the responsibility to get into the Champions League every year. You can be left out, but you can also be champions," he told reporters ahead of Atletico's final LaLiga game of the campaign against Real Sociedad.

    "But with Real Madrid, who are the best team in the world and will continue to be because they have rejuvenated the squad, it is not easy.

    "We have to keep working at 120 per cent because 100 per cent is not enough, and 80 per cent is even less to be able to get closer to them, keeping in mind that those below us are also improving.

    "We were close to the Copa del Rey final and were expecting to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League. We created the illusion of being in a possible final, and we weren't able to do it, so now we have to think about what comes next to improve things.

    "I have had players who have allowed me to compete as we have done since I arrived, and a coaching staff where everyone who has walked this path has given maximum effort. There is always room for improvement and growth."

  • Under-pressure Ten Hag claims Ratcliffe wants him to stay at Man Utd Under-pressure Ten Hag claims Ratcliffe wants him to stay at Man Utd

    Erik ten Hag has claimed Manchester United's new part-owner Jim Ratcliffe has told him he wants the Dutchman to stay at Old Trafford.

    Reports on Friday suggested Ratcliffe, who now runs the footballing operations at United following INEOS' 27.7 per cent purchase of the club, had decided to sack Ten Hag regardless of the result of Saturday's FA Cup final, with the Red Devils taking on Manchester City.

    United finished eighth, their worst-ever Premier League finish, this season, with Ten Hag under increasing scrutiny.

    However, while hitting out at his critics in an interview with Dutch publication Voetbal International, Ten Hag claimed to have the backing of INEOS.

    "INEOS told me that they want to change everything and that they want to rebuild with me," he said.

    "This is what they told me directly."

    Former Ajax boss Ten Hag also defended his tenure at United so far.

    "United won the league for the last time in 2013, 11 years ago. But still they expect us to win every game while competing at the top. This club is not ready for that," he said.

    "We were supposed to start building something and we made the first steps last year, but then you find out how big this club is and that nobody is ever satisfied.

    "Within the club people were satisfied, but outside the club there was noise, [people] saying I won only the EFL Cup, lost the FA Cup final and finished third.

    "Well, then you have no sense of reality. Other clubs had a much better squad."

    Ten Hag also suggested that some pundits in England see United as "easy pray".

    He added: "It's the biggest club in England and possibly in the world. The club is either loved or hated, there is no in-between.

    "So when things go bad, they all start talking and talking with very big words. All this negativity from these so-called experts who don't have the capability to analyse something with facts, but who prefer to attack people to make themselves look better.

    "And these same people were the ones who gave me a pat on the back last year. Last year I was able to walk on water, this year I am the worst manager in the Premier League?"

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.