Regardless of having packed trophy cupboards, Italy’s two veteran defenders are nonetheless out to show they will compete on the highest stage.
Giorgio Chiellini, who turns 37 subsequent month, and 34-year-old Leonardo Bonucci are the spine of a rock-solid Italy defence at this yr’s European Championship.
Their subsequent project will likely be to cease Spain on Tuesday within the semifinals at Wembley Stadium.
“It’s been various years now that it’s been mentioned that they’re the most effective middle again pairing in world soccer,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini mentioned Monday.
“Their energy is that they need to show that that’s nonetheless the case match in, match out and I feel that’s essential for a participant, to show that they’re the most effective of their place with each recreation that passes.”
Chiellini and Bonucci have been on the coronary heart of the protection for Italy’s nationwide group and Juventus for a lot of the previous 11 years. They, together with the now retired Andrea Barzagli, shaped the famed BBC trio.
Collectively they helped Juventus win eight Serie A titles and 4 Italian Cup trophies. They’ve every performed greater than 100 matches for his or her nation.
“Clearly once we are enjoying alongside each other we all know one another’s recreation inside out and so issues come very naturally to us,” Bonucci mentioned.
“So naturally you don’t must essentially take into consideration all the opposite issues you need to whenever you play with somebody apart from Giorgio, all of it comes very naturally.
“We will share the workload and assist the group out and we are able to additionally each be leaders. That’s completely essential and it permits each myself and Giorgio to essentially give 100% recreation in, recreation out.”
Chiellini missed Italy’s last group match towards Wales and the victory over Austria within the spherical of 16 with an harm however returned for the 2-1 win over Belgium within the quarterfinals.
In opposition to the Belgians, he blocked a robust shot from Kevin De Bruyne together with his face and instantly grinned — prompting a large smile again from the opposing ahead.
Chiellini and Bonucci helped Italy management Belgium’s assault, with Romelu Lukaku scoring the lone aim from the penalty spot. That was solely the second aim Italy has conceded all match.
The Azzurri will subsequent face a Spain group which is the main scorer at Euro 2020. And the defensive duo will come up towards a striker they know nicely, Juventus teammate Álvaro Morata.
“If you get to this stage, whenever you get to this stage of the competitors, all the nations you come up towards and all the strikers you face are terrific,” Bonucci mentioned.
“Álvaro has some very particular qualities, they’re completely different attributes to what Lukaku is all about, however we have to be very switched on when it comes to wonderful margins and small particulars to guarantee that we actually can come away with an enormous outcome.”