Chiellini: ‘Giroud can score 20 goals in Los Angeles and be an actor too. Milan should sign Zirkzee’


Legendary Juventus and Azzurri defender Giorgio Chiellini believes Olivier Giroud will have an immediate impact in MLS. The former Bianconeri centre-back, now working as a development coach for Los Angeles FC, spoke with La Gazzetta dello Sport about the imminent arrival of the French striker, while also explaining why Joshua Zirkzee would be a great fit for Milan:

Now can we say: since when did you know he was coming?

“In January it was quite clear, we were waiting for him but the danger was that another offer might come. Don’t think he’ll earn the same money here as in Europe…”

Instead, the family voted for L.A. and Giroud too. What can the city offer him?

“Time with the family, above all. In Turin, from August to May, I had lunch twice a year with my wife, here after a few weeks of family lunches, she almost sent me back to the field… Jokes aside, in MLS, you have fun and live well, there’s less pressure.”

What changes, besides the stress of the press?

“One example above all: here we don’t go into retreat, and for the game, we go directly to the field. At first, it’s strange, then you understand it’s just different.”

And what can Giroud bring to the franchise?

“He can score 20 goals a year and that’s good: he’s not the type to score 50, he also needs the team. Then in Los Angeles, he could also become an actor. But for me, he’ll make the difference especially with his character.”


“Because Giroud wants to win, he’s a leader, he’ll make his teammates grow as he did with Leao, Pulisic, and others. Here, mentality counts a lot. If you arrive with the presumption of being the best, you do badly. If you come to learn, you end up performing well. The person makes the difference.”

What impresses you about Giroud as an opponent?

“The fact that he won a World Cup as a decisive center-forward without scoring. For a number 9, it’s very difficult. Here is his greatness.”

Milan will lose a lot…

“Yes, a lot. First, they lost Ibra, then him, and these are blows that are felt. Milan has an advantage: they knew, they saw the danger coming. And I’ll tell you more: if Giroud had stayed, he would have found himself in a difficult situation. At first, it’s nice to help a young player grow, then you risk becoming burdensome.”

Among the young substitutes, who would be ideal?

“In Italy, the player who has done the best is undoubtedly Zirkzee, even though I know he’s liked by many. I liked him already at Parma, you could see he had the skills, he was good. Then, of course, there’s a huge difference between skills and consistency.”

Looking at Italy from afar, what thoughts come to mind?

“I think Inter is the strongest team, without a doubt. It’s logical they won. For me, they could open a cycle in the next two years, it will be tough for everyone also because Milan and Napoli, from what I read, will almost certainly change their coach: in six months, almost all the benches have changed or will change, impressive. And the first year with a new coach is always complex.”

Anything else?

“I’m happy for Daniele (De Rossi) and for Thiago (Motta). They are friends. Now I hope Fabio (Cannavaro) saves himself with Udinese. Affection for them goes beyond everything.”

It’s impossible not to think about the National Team. As the outgoing champion captain, how many chances do we have at the Euros?

“The Euros are strange, you need draws, matchups, everything. I just say we have a big card: Spalletti.”


“Because Spalletti is the ideal man. He’s a guarantee and a hope: in a month he can create the perfect atmosphere, and this can help a lot. Italy is a group that is rebuilding.”

What else is needed?

“Luck. This team has everything to advance, then it also depends on luck. If Arnautovic’s nose hadn’t been offside, our feat might not have happened…”

From a recent interview: “Chiesa can make the difference.” Do you think that?

“Yes, Federico can be decisive in every move, few like him create chances out of nothing.”

And among the young players, who would be nice to see at the Euros?

“I’ll never stop being a defender at heart, so I choose Buongiorno and Calafiori, who have done very well this season. Calafiori can be an alternative to Bastoni, while Buongiorno has something of Acerbi: he doesn’t have international experience but he’s already a mature player. From the call-ups, however, I don’t expect big surprises.”

We only need to talk about… Giorgio Chiellini. Plans?

“In mid-July, we all go back to Livorno for the summer, then to Turin for school. My wife missed the family and I understand her, although it would have been interesting to continue here too.”

The future as an executive is set?

“This is my world, and yes, I imagine myself as an executive, not a coach, scout, or sporting director. I’ve seen many change their minds along the way and it’s fine, but now I see myself in this role, I’d like to explore the business side of football. Until six months ago, I still had the mentality of a player but not now, I’m having many interesting meetings related to the business and commercial area.”


“No, the field is always inside me but now I see myself more in the office than on the field. You change, it’s life.”


Serie A obsessive.