Former Azzurri captain Giorgio Chiellini explained why he had no choice but to foul Bukayo Saka in last summers EURO’s final. The Juve and Italy legend played a vital role in his country making it all the way to the competitions final, but was caught out by the pace of the young England winger. Speaking to The Times, Chiellini recounted how this became ‘the memory of the summer’:
I never thought this could be the memory of the summer. For me, OK, I did a mistake and a foul in the smartest and best way possible because I think I can protect the ball and let it go out. But he passed me under my arm and the first thing I see is to try and grab him. Saka is too fast for me. If I started one or two moments before, I can run with him but if he goes it is impossible. This is a good choice for me after a mistake.”
Chiellini also revealed how the upset of not having qualified for the World Cup has impacted the Italy team and why England may be one of the contenders to win the competition:
We are devastated,. To miss two World Cups in a row is something that I never expected can happen. I’m curious because many times England arrive at the end of the season devastated from all the matches but now is different, now they are fresh. The group is young but it is growing up a lot. But English players are really pressured by all the media and fans, so it’s not easy.
I am sad for Maguire’s situation because he is a good player,. They require too much of him. Just because they paid £80 million 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.
Him and [John] Stones are a good duo. OK, Maguire maybe is not Rio Ferdinand but he’s good enough. With this situation it’s not helping [England] to do the best. If you want to win the World Cup it’s impossible to do it with some problems in the key players, and for sure Maguire is one of the key players of the team.”