Lorenzo Insigne was revealed as the clear top earner in Major League Soccer as the players' association published its list of annual salaries.

Italy striker Insigne joined Toronto FC from Napoli at the end of the 2021-22 Serie A season, signing a four-year contract.

It can now be revealed that Insigne will earn $14million in his first season, putting him far ahead of the next highest paid player in MLS, who is Chicago Fire's former Liverpool and Bayern Munich player Xherdan Shaqiri.

Shaqiri earns a base salary of $7.35m, but his guaranteed compensation comes to $8.153m. The 31-year-old joined Chicago from Lyon in February.

The MLS Players' Association (MLSPA) published its list that included a number of surprising salaries, with former Juventus and Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini collecting a modest – compared to Insigne – base salary of $1million with Los Angeles FC, which only climbs marginally to $1.075m when all guaranteed compensation is included.

Chiellini was therefore absent from the list of top 25 earners in MLS, and his club-mate Gareth Bale only squeezed into the list at number 23, with the former Real Madrid and Tottenham forward on a base salary of $1.6m and a total amount of $2.387m.

In third place on the list stands Javier Hernandez, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker, with the LA Galaxy star reeling in $6m base and $7.443m guaranteed.

Insigne's countryman and Toronto team-mate Federico Bernardeschi is fourth (basic: $3.125m; guaranteed: $6.256m), ahead of a former Juventus team-mate, LA Galaxy's Douglas Costa in fifth (basic: $3m; guaranteed: $5.8m).

Christian Benteke, who left Crystal Palace to join DC United in August, holds down 11th place with a base salary of $4m ($4.183m guaranteed).

Giorgio Chiellini believes Manchester United "require too much" from Harry Maguire due to the centre-back's hefty price tag.

Maguire has been named among the substitutes for United's past four Premier League games after being dropped by Erik ten Hag.

The England international, who joined United for a record £80million fee for a defender in August 2019, paid the price for defeats to Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford.

While Chiellini does not regard Maguire as being in the same category as legendary United defender Rio Ferdinand, he feels the ex-Leicester City player is unfairly judged.

"I am sad for Maguire's situation because he's a good player," Chiellini, who retired from international duty in April with 117 caps to his name, told The Times.

"They require too much of him. Just because they paid £80m for him, he has to be the best in the world every match? It's not right.

"The value of the market is dependent on many aspects you can't control. It's not your fault. Okay, Maguire maybe is not Rio Ferdinand but he's good enough."

Maguire has played 190 minutes for United across their six matches in all competitions this season, which is only the 13th most of all their players.

Despite his lack of playing time, the centre-back is part of Gareth Southgate's England squad for the upcoming Nations League matches with Italy and Germany.

England's clash with Italy in Milan on Friday is a repeat of the Euro 2020 final, which the Azzurri won 3-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time.

The Three Lions enter the game out of form, though, having failed to win any of their first four Nations League matches – their longest winless run since June 2014 (five games).

That includes a heavy 4-0 loss to Hungary last time out – their worst home defeat for 94 years – but Italy head coach Roberto Mancini rates Southgate's side highly.

"I think England are one of the best teams in the world. They're full of talent, especially the forwards," said Mancini, whose side played out a 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture.

"They have many players apart from Harry Kane, who is an extraordinary player, but the young players around him can make a difference. So it will be a very hard match for us."

England are bottom of Group A3 ahead of facing Italy, who are three points better off in third despite a heavy 5-2 loss to Germany in their most recent match.

Mancini added: "It's a game we face at a particular moment for us. They are in better shape, but we have the enthusiasm and we can play a good game."

Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini's recent absences from the Los Angeles FC squad due to fitness reasons is "pretty normal", according to head coach Steve Cherundolo.

Recent high-profile signings Bale and Chiellini sat out Tuesday's 1-0 win over D.C. United, having previously also missed the 5-0 victory over Charlotte FC last weekend.

Cherundolo confirmed the pair, who have each featured four times since officially arriving at the club in June, have not been called upon for precautionary measures.

The LAFC coach will continue to play it safe when it comes to selecting the experienced duo, with Bale having yet to make his first start for the MLS side.

"Gareth hasn't been 100 per cent," Cherundolo said. "We are just kind of moving along. I think this is pretty normal – aches and pains in the middle of a pre-season for a player.

"Trying to get your body in a position where you can play 90 minutes week in, week out in the middle of a season is difficult and sometimes there are little mini-setbacks.

"That's where we currently are with both of them. But it is purely precautionary."

Substitute Mahala Opoku scored the only goal of the game against D.C. United as LAFC extended their club-record winning streak to seven matches.

Cherundolo's charges are top of the overall MLS standings and return to action on Saturday with a road game at San Jose Earthquakes.

Gleison Bremer revealed Juventus greats Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci have been invaluable sources of advice since he joined the Bianconeri, as he targeted a spot in Brazil's squad for the World Cup in Qatar.

Having been named Serie A's 2021-22 Defender of the Year while starring for Torino, Bremer joined Juve in a reported €40million move after Matthijs de Ligt was sold to Bayern Munich last month.

Bremer led the way across Europe's top five leagues for interceptions last season (105), as well as making more recoveries (284) and winning more aerial duels (132) than any other Serie A player.

The Brazilian has taken Chiellini's number three shirt after he departed for Los Angeles FC, and is doing his best to learn from both him and current Juve skipper Bonucci as the Bianconeri target a first Serie A title since 2019-20.

"I spoke with Giorgio Chiellini - he has been one of the best Italian defenders," Bremer told a news conference on Thursday. 

"He told me I could take his number three shirt, so I followed his suggestion. 

"Since I arrived, I have looked to Leonardo Bonucci for advice, and as captain he has certainly been helping me out.

"We are concentrating on starting the season strongly against Sassuolo on Monday. This year we are all focused on putting the club back on track. We want to win at Juventus - this is a club where I can compete for important titles.

"It's a club that aims to win, to be at the top, so it was the right thing to join Juve.

"Being at Juve means setting your sights high. We want to do well in the Champions League, but we must first focus on Serie A."

 

Despite his eye-catching performances in Italy, Bremer has yet to be handed a call-up by Brazil, who are looking to end a 20-year wait for World Cup success in Qatar later this year.

As the 25-year-old highlighted the role played by compatriots Danilo and Alex Sandro in advising him to join Juve, he set his sights on making a late bid for the Selecao's squad for the tournament.

"It won't be simple here because it's not easy to play for Juventus, but I knew there were Brazilians here and this helped me make my decision," he added.

"I spoke to Danilo and Alex Sandro and they were helpful in making up my mind, and they have helped me settle in straight away. 

"Also, playing for Juventus will help me aim for the World Cup."

Juventus begin their 2022-23 Serie A campaign at home to Sassuolo on Monday.

Los Angeles FC momentarily opened up a four-point gap atop the Western Conference in the MLS, defeating Sporting KC 2-0 on Saturday.

Gareth Bale came off the bench to score his first goal in the MLS and seal the three points for LAFC, after Cristian Arango's well-taken opener.

With Giorgio Chiellini also starting, Steve Cherundolo's side absorbed pressure after Arango scored in the 56th minute, firing past Tim Melia at his near post with a confident finish on the run.

Bale was able to settle the result in transition for LAFC in the 83rd minute, driving low into the corner after creating separation from Nicolas Isimat-Mirin.

The win puts LAFC four points ahead of second-placed Austin FC in the West, who are still to face New York RB on Sunday, while Nashville and Cincinatti played out a 1-1 draw.

FC Dallas kept their hopes of a top-four finish in the West alive meanwhile, emerging 1-0 victors away to Real Salt Lake, while Minnesota moved to third with their 2-1 victory over Houston Dynamo.

The Seattle Sounders are now a point from the playoff spots, overcoming Kelyn Rowe's 47th-minute red card to defeat the Colorado Rapids 2-1, while the Portland Timbers beat the SJ Earthquakes with the same result.

Philadelphia Union hold a one-point lead atop the Eastern Conference, with Daniel Gazdag's 39th-minute goal handing them a critical 1-0 win away to Orlando City.

The stingiest defence in the MLS held out to maintain their gap to New York City, who beat Inter Miami 2-0 via goals from Maximiliano Moralez and Heber.

CF Montreal moved back to third, with a Romell Quioto brace handing them a 2-1 win over DC United, while Toronto FC claimed a shock 4-0 win over a ten-man Charlotte FC.

Chicago Fire took advantage to move two points from the playoff spots, with Xherdan Shaqiri helping them to a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, while Columbus Crew and New England Revolution played out a goal-less draw.

 

Juventus new boy Gleison Bremer is drawing inspiration from Bianconeri legend Giorgio Chiellini after replacing Bayern Munich-bound Matthijs de Ligt at the Allianz Stadium. 

With Massimiliano Allegri's side losing De Ligt to the Bundesliga champions on Tuesday, they have swiftly gone about bolstering their backline with a move for Serie A's 2021-22 Defender of the Year.

Playing for Juve's local rivals Torino, Bremer led players across Europe's top five leagues for interceptions (105) last season, making 33 Serie A appearances and contributing to eight clean sheets.

Juventus have reportedly committed to paying €40million plus add-ons for the Brazilian, who will take Chiellini's number three shirt after the Euro 2020 winner left for Los Angeles FC.

And Bremer told the club's media channels he is seeking to emulate the 37-year-old, who he described as the finest defender Italy had to offer. 

"Juventus is a team that always wants to win, and I also have the ambition to win," Bremer said.

"I also talked a bit with Chiellini and I decided that Juventus were the best team.

"I also have a dog that is black and white! It was in my destiny.

"Chiellini is the best Italian defender, I've always said that. So I'm inspired a little by him, and I'll try to do what he did."

After winning nine consecutive league titles between 2011-12 and 2019-20, Juventus have since finished fourth in successive Serie A campaigns.

But Bremer believes the acquisitions of players such as Angel Di Maria and Paul Pogba served to convince him of Juve's chances winning of silverware next season.

The centre-back, who was also strongly linked with Inter, added: "When I saw that Pogba and Di Maria arrived, I had no doubts about who to choose. 

"We are a team built to win.

"I always want to win, the Scudetto, the Champions League. This is my goal."

Gareth Bale claimed the standard of football in Major League Soccer has risen in recent years after he and Giorgio Chiellini made their Los Angeles FC debut in a 2-1 win over Nashville SC.

Bale made his MLS bow as a 72nd-minute substitute in Tennessee, while Italy and Juventus legend Chiellini played the first hour of a victory that put LAFC one point clear at the Western Conference summit.

The Wales winger, who won five Champions League titles during a trophy-laden spell with Real Madrid before his contract expired in June, suggested last week that MLS was "not a retirement league".

And Bale repeated that assertion after his maiden appearance, telling LAFC's website: "The standard of football, even just watching, has improved massively from when I used to watch it in the past and when I've played against an all-star team or played other teams in the past.

"The football's good, I enjoyed being on there. I definitely think the perception [of the league] is changing, I think a lot of players came over and really struggled and got a big wake-up call by it.

"I've spoken to other players about it, so I know the quality is improving. I haven't come here just to wind down, I want to contribute as much as I can, to try to win games and trophies."

Bale caught the eye during his first cameo with the 2019 Supporters' Shield winners, and admitted he had grown restless watching from the bench early on.

"It felt amazing, I was itching from the first half, as soon as I got on the bench I wanted to get off and help the team," he added. "[It's] important as well for me individually that I get my fitness going, obviously it's the end of the season in Europe. 

"It's good to get some minutes and more importantly, we got the three points, so everybody's happy.

"I want to come in and do what I do, but fit into the team's style of play as well. It's going to take a bit of time to get used to everything, but I'm quite switched on."

Chiellini, meanwhile, highlighted the difficulties caused by the humid conditions in Nashville, but was pleased to have passed his first test since departing Serie A.

"I expected the difficulties we had in the match because it is good team and also for me especially, it's my first match for almost two months, and it's too hot in Nashville!" the defender said.

"But I was feeling better minute by minute. I'm very happy because it was a difficult game, and it is very important for us to win"

New York City earned an important win for their season on Sunday, defeating local rivals New York RB to claim the Hudson River Derby on Sunday.

With City and NYRB second and third respectively in the Eastern Conference coming into Sunday's match, the stakes were higher than usual and it reflected in the fine margins the game was played within.

It was fitting the winning goal also reflected that, with NYRB defender Sean Nealis caught square for just a fraction of a second in the 69th minute, as the game grew increasingly tense.

That lapse was enough for Santiago Rodriguez to perfectly weigh a pass over his head for Valentin Castellanos, who ran onto it off his blind side, before finishing first-time past the approaching Carlos Coronel for his MLS-leading 13th goal of the season.

City restored their one-point deficit to the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union with the win, while opening up a critical five-point gap to NYRB in third.

Elsewhere in the East, Atlanta United and Orlando City could only manage a 1-1 draw, while Columbus Crew took full advantage, moving to sixth win a 2-0 win over FC Cincinnati.

Meanwhile in the Western Conference, Giorgio Chiellini and Gareth Bale made their debuts for Los Angeles FC as they reclaimed top spot with a 2-1 win over Nashville SC.

Chiellini started while Bale came off the bench but by then, LAFC had already reclaimed the lead via Jose Cifuentes, after Hany Mukhtar cancelled out Cristian Arango's opening goal.

Real Salt Lake took full advantage, moving back into third in the West with a 3-0 win over Sporting KC, while Houston Dynamo claimed a 2-1 victory over the SJ Earthquakes.

In Sunday's final game, the traditional rivals from the NASL and USL in the Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers played out a 1-1 draw.

Nicolo Zaniolo has apologised for Italy's failure to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar as he pledged to become a key part of Roberto Mancini's next Azzurri side.

Italy will miss a second successive World Cup this year after falling to a stunning play-off reverse to North Macedonia in March, and their misery was compounded this month when they were beaten 3-0 by Argentina at Wembley in the Finalissima.

They also won just one of their first four Nations League games, losing 5-2 to Germany last time out.

Zaniolo was absent as Mancini's men beat England on penalties to win the rearranged Euro 2020 tournament last July, and made just one appearance throughout Italy's unsuccessful World Cup qualification campaign.

The creative midfielder is desperate to become a key part of Mancini's next side, and hailed the job the former Manchester City boss has done with the national team.

"I'm sorry, because we have to wait another four years," he told Sportweek. "But let's go on. I'm used to chasing. There will be other goals in between.

"The first time Mancini called me I was very young... He came there to talk to me, to make me feel immediately at ease. Great person, professional. I will do everything to convince Mancini."

Moving forward, Italy will be without defensive stalwart Giorgio Chiellini, who won his 117th and final international cap in the Argentina defeat – matching Daniele De Rossi as his nations' fourth-most capped player.

And Zaniolo thinks the former Juventus man will be difficult to replace.

"[Chiellini] has always been the most difficult to overcome," he said. "He is physically strong and off the pitch, he is an exceptional person."

At club level, Zaniolo enjoyed a successful campaign under Jose Mourinho at Roma, making 30 appearances in all competitions as the Giallorossi won the Europa Conference League, and scored the only goal of last month's final win over Feyenoord.

The 22-year-old says he has learnt a lot from playing under Mourinho.

"He's a winner," he said. "He taught me how to get into position in the defensive phase, where we had to improve and I still have to do it. 

"He helped me to manage certain situations, in the past I would have reacted badly or worse due to exclusion from games that were very significant for me. 

"He taught me to bite my tongue, [to be] mute and work more in the field."

Giorgio Chiellini has confirmed he will join MLS side Los Angeles FC on a free transfer.

The Juventus great revealed his intentions to leave Turin at the end of the season, ending a 17-year spell with the Bianconeri in which he made 425 Serie A appearances.

Chiellini also retired from international football with Italy two weeks ago following the 3-0 'Finalissima' defeat to Argentina in a meeting between the Euro 2020 winners and Copa America champions.

The 37-year-old has expressed his desire to use his vast experience to go into management or a director role, once his playing career is finished.

Los Angeles will likely be his final club that he plays for, after Chiellini took to Twitter on Monday to confirm his move to the Black and Gold on a reported 18-month contract.

"I am ready for a new role on the pitch," he said. "But mentally, I'd also be ready to become a director.

"I'd like to know everything going on around the pitch, inside the offices, but it takes time, patience and desire to sacrifice.

"We'll talk again in a few years and hopefully, I'll have understood the particularities and difficulties of the role.

"My adventure in the USA will prepare me for what will happen next."

Chiellini will hope to bolster the defence of a Los Angeles side that sit four points clear at the Western Conference summit after 14 games.

The experienced defender represents another big-name signing to go to MLS, joining the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to play in America.

Giorgio Chiellini bowed out of international football and warned a "difficult period" awaited Italy as Roberto Mancini bids to get the Azzurri back on track.

The joy of winning last year's delayed Euro 2020 tournament has been replaced by rapid deflation after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Having also missed out on the Russia 2018 finals, falling short of a place at Qatar 2022 represented crushing disappointment for the four-time winners.

Chiellini, the 37-year-old defensive titan who is leaving Juventus and expected to join Los Angeles FC, has called time on his Italy career.

He played the first half on Wednesday in a 3-0 defeat to Argentina at Wembley, in a match tagged as the Finalissima, a clash of the champions of Europe and South America.

"We were hoping to win the match and the trophy," Chiellini told Italian broadcaster RAI. "We knew it would be tough, but the defeat does not cancel what has gone before.

"Now I expect a difficult period. We need everyone to support this group."

Chiellini lasted just 45 minutes in his farewell game, with Italy 2-0 up by the time he departed.

This was the first staging of the CONMEBOL/UEFA 'Cup of Champions' since 1993. Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di Maria and Paulo Dybala got the goals as Lionel Messi pulled the strings

It was a sorry way for Chiellini to go out, and he said: "It's a shame because in the first half we made a lot of mistakes and we ruined the match by ourselves."

Turning his attention to Argentina, he added: "Above all, at this moment they are too strong, they have confidence and they are a team. They look like us a year ago."

Italy, without Chiellini, will switch their focus to the Nations League. They face Germany on Saturday and again on June 14 – matches against Hungary and England are sandwiched in between.

Writing on his Instagram page, Chiellini reflected on the end of a 117-cap career.

He wrote: "Thanks to everyone, it's been a beautiful journey."

Italy coach Roberto Mancini promised changes after a difficult few months for the Azzurri was compounded by a crushing defeat to Argentina in Wednesday's Finalissima.

Argentina were comprehensive 3-0 winners at Wembley, as the CONMEBOL/UEFA 'Cup of Champions' was revived for the first time since 1993.

Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di Maria and Paulo Dybala got the goals as Lionel Messi pulled the strings, but in truth Italy were fortunate to only lose 3-0 against a hugely impressive Albiceleste.

It was only Italy's second match since their shock World Cup qualifying defeat to North Macedonia in March, with that loss preventing them from reaching Qatar 2022.

Despite the Azzurri winning Euro 2020 less than a year ago, Mancini is already looking to instigate something of a rebuild.

But he was keen to pay tribute to those who have played a key role over the past four years.

"In the first half we made two mistakes on their two goals, then they were better at keeping the ball," Mancini is quoted as saying by Sky Italia.

"They were better than us, but I must say thanks to these guys who have played in these four years.

"There is regret for the lack of qualification for the World Cup, and tonight's match was initially balanced, then they had superior quality to us.

"After this match we had in mind to change several things and we will do it. We need to find the players, put together a team that will suffer at the beginning and that in the future will be able to give us joy."

Clearly, the attack will be Mancini's primary focus in any rebuild as he rued a lack of threat going forward.

"We have great difficulty scoring at the moment, and we have to work a lot knowing that it will not be so simple and it will take time [to overcome their issues]," he continued.

"After the European Championship we struggled to score and we have to find solutions in this sense and try to be fast, but it will not be easy to put together a team that gives us short-term satisfaction even if there are good guys. We will have to make as few mistakes as possible.

"I have optimism. I like to work and train. It's true that we lost against a great Argentina team, but we must know that there will also be these moments and we must make sure that the youngest players learn quickly."

Italy now turn their attention to the Nations League. They face Germany on Saturday and again on June 14 – matches against Hungary and England are sandwiched in between.

Argentina's impressive 3-0 Finalissima win over Italy saw La Albiceleste set a national new record of 32 matches unbeaten.

Lionel Scaloni's men were sensational at Wembley, producing a dominant and rampant performance that could have seen them claim an even more one-sided victory.

Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di Maria and Paulo Dybala got the goals, while Lionel Messi pulled the strings as Argentina made something of a statement less than six months before the World Cup.

Argentina's last defeat was a 2-0 loss to bitter rivals Brazil in the semi-finals of the 2019 Copa America, but they got their revenge in the final last year, beating the Selecao 1-0 at the Maracana to clinch their first title in 28 years.

Their 32 games unbeaten is a new record for official games, though Argentina did go 33 matches without defeat under Alfio Basile – that run included two fixtures not recognised by FIFA as they were against the Rest of America and the Rest of World in 1991.

Argentina's streak is the longest currently intact in international football and leaves them just five adrift of the all-time record set by Italy themselves last year.

Argentina made an early statement of intent ahead of the World Cup with an impressively dominant 3-0 win over Italy to win the UEFA/CONMEBOL Finalissima at Wembley.

Although Italy failed to qualify for Qatar 2022, few would have expected the European champions to be so stunningly outclassed by the Copa America 2021 winners.

Much of the pre-game focus was on Giorgio Chiellini, but the last game of his distinguished international career ended at half-time with Argentina deservedly 2-0 up thanks to goals from Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria.

Italy somehow prevented the inspired Lionel Messi and Di Maria adding more gloss to the scoreline, but Paulo Dybala finally got their third with the last kick of the game.

A brilliant intervention by Cristian Romero had earlier denied Andrea Belotti a simple finish in the 20th minute, with the striker then seeing a looping header saved by Emiliano Martinez a few moments later.

But Argentina soon took charge.

Messi wonderfully turned away from Giovanni Di Lorenzo and held him off before passing across goal for Martinez to tap home.

The Inter forward then turned provider on the stroke of half-time, spinning Leonardo Bonucci and feeding Di Maria, who lifted an audacious chip over the helpless Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Roberto Mancini made three changes at the break but if anything Argentina only became more dominant – Donnarumma desperately scurried back to stop a Bonucci back-pass going in, before importantly denying the excellent Di Maria twice.

Giovani Lo Celso then missed an open goal – albeit from a slightly tight angle – after great work by Messi, who subsequently tested Donnarumma twice.

But Donnarumma was eventually beaten again at the end, substitute Dybala finding the bottom-right corner after a solo Messi run terrified the Italy defence.

New Italy captain Leonardo Bonucci hopes to start laying the foundations to rebuild the Azzurri when they face Argentina on Wednesday.

Italy won their first European Championship since 1968 by defeating England on penalties last July at Wembley.

Roberto Mancini's side return to Wembley to meet Argentina in the 'Finalissima' between the Euro 2020 winners and Copa America champions.

Italy have struggled since their last visit to England's national stadium; missing out on a second straight World Cup after falling to a stunning play-off defeat against North Macedonia.

Bonucci has replaced Giorgio Chiellini as skipper of both Juventus and Italy, with his defensive partner heading for the exit door in Turin and announcing he will retire from international football following the game against Argentina.

The 35-year-old Bonucci is relishing the challenge of facing Lionel Scaloni's side.

"They are among the best in the world, Argentina hasn't lost in 31 games and it's no coincidence," he told reporters on Tuesday.

"We need maximum commitment and respect. We must start again and lay the foundations to bring Italy back to the top."

Argentina captain Lionel Messi suggested Italy would have been favourites for the World Cup should they have appeared in Qatar, and Bonucci expressed his gratitude for those comments.

"The fault is ours, it took very little to be able to play in something truly unique for a player's career," he added.

"We thank Messi for the kind words he said about us; tomorrow two winning national teams will meet and we want to put on a show to take the trophy home."

Bonucci hailed Messi, who will aim to guide Argentina to their third World Cup win and first since 1986.

"For a player who has won so many Golden Balls it is difficult to find words to described him," the Juve defender continued. 

"He was, and still is today, with Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the best in the world – great respect will be needed."

As for Chiellini's international retirement, Bonucci hopes to give him a fitting send-off as he outlined his own plans for captaincy.

"We must enjoy this last day with him, he was a great companion on the pitch and in life," he said. "From the day after tomorrow I will continue to do what I have always done, to be an example.

"From Chiellini I learned the ability to work out difficult situations in a short time and find the solution.

"That is the secret that made Giorgio a great person and a great captain, I'll try to smooth out the flaws. My team-mates will have to help me too, just as we helped Chiellini and [Gianluigi] Buffon."

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