In appreciation of Juventus birthday boy Giorgio Chiellini

Claudio Villa

Today is Giorgio Chiellini's 29th birthday. Doesn't seem like it, huh? You'd think for a guy who has been in bianconero for nearly a decade that he'd be a lot older than that. But the truth is, Chiello isn't even in his 30s yet. Your mind has permission to be officially blown.

In front of our very eyes, we've seen Chiellini go from being an extremely raw left back with potential to an experimental center back under Claudio Ranieri because Jorge Andrade couldn't stay healthy to save his life. From a temporary option in the center of the Juventus defense to one of the best defenders in the world today.

Not bad for a guy who would probably be off doing a bunch of nerd things somewhere if it wasn't for this whole football thing becoming such an important thing in his life.

So Chiellini is good. I don't think I need to repeat that anymore. The fact is that Chiellini is one of the best at his position in the business even if he isn't exactly the most graceful defender most of the time. His defending style is built on pure aggression and strength that's as brash as it gets and almost like it's somewhat of some controlled chaos. He's the kind of player you love having on your team but basically hate going up against.

Let's be honest: Would we want it any other way?

Chiellini is world class at what he does because of how he does it. There are no style points when it comes to Chiellini crashing into an opponent and finishing off a tackle in his usual bone-crunching fashion. That controlled chaos is what makes him so good — not graceful like so many great Italian defenders of yesteryear, but incredibly effective. And because of that, he's been able to be so damn consistent despite a handful of injury problems that have caused him to miss a good chunk of games.

For all the injuries, for all the whacky-ass tumbling on the field after he gets tackled, there's one thing that's certain — Chiellini is exactly the kind of defender that defines Antonio Conte's Juventus — grinta to the core, fighting for the good of the cause. But as we all know, Chiellini's been doing this long before Conte's arrival as manager. Sometimes it's hard to believe that he's about to officially begin his ninth season with Juventus in a matter of days.

Time flies when you're tackling dudes for a living, I guess.

Giorgio Chiellini: Still in his 20s, still really good at football (okay, so I repeated it). That's a good combination if you ask me.

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