Italy head coach Roberto Mancini has declared Giorgio Chiellini’s decision to leave Juventus and retire from international football as a “pity for everyone”.
Juve great Chiellini confirmed after the 4-2 Coppa Italia final loss to Inter last week that he will depart Turin at the end of the season, ending a 17-year spell with the Bianconeri that has seen him lift 20 trophies.
The centre-back has also already revealed he will retire from international duty with Italy after the Azzurri play Argentina at Wembley Stadium on June 1.
Chiellini opted to play in the Finalissima, a new final pitting the winners of the Copa America and European Championship against each other, as a fitting conclusion after Italy lifted Euro 2020 at Wembley in July.
Reports suggest 37-year-old Chiellini may accept an offer to play in MLS before taking his sizeable experience into management or a coaching role.
Mancini, speaking at the Prisco Prize in Chieti where he received a Special Jury Prize, was quick to heap praise on the veteran Chiellini as he reflected on the influence he has had on Italian football.
“It is a pity for everyone because he was a great player for the national team and for Juve,” Mancini said, as quoted by Corriere dello Sport.
“Unfortunately, time passes for everyone. He made this decision but leaving after winning the European Championship in a race like the one at Wembley is still important.”
@chiellini: “I give way to the youngsters, as next year I will not be here. On Monday I will say goodbye to my stadium, and Fiorentina will be my last match. I say goodbye with joy to this team, of which I will be the biggest fan, because Juve will always stay with me.”
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) May 11, 2022
Napoli talisman Lorenzo Insigne has also announced he will leave Serie A to move to Toronto FC at the end of the season.
The 30-year-old scored on his final home appearance for Napoli on Sunday, becoming the second-highest goalscorer in the club’s history as he moved clear of Marek Hamsik’s tally of 121.
Only team-mate Dries Mertens, with 148, has managed more goals for Napoli, and Mancini spoke glowingly of Insigne after his efforts in Naples and with the national side.
“He will go on to have an important experience anyway. He gave a lot to the national team and I hope he can do it again,” the Azzurri boss added.
With those two experienced campaigners leaving Serie A, Mancini believes it is time for the Italian top flight to provide more young talent to fill the void Chiellini and Insigne will leave.
Mancini and the Italian system came into criticism for not trusting younger players after Italy failed to qualify for a second successive World Cup following play-off defeat to North Macedonia in late March.
“The important thing when things didn’t go well is to get up,” he continued. “We will have games in the summer and then the Nations League restarts.
“There are several interesting youngsters in the championship but we would like more.”