World Cup Player Profile: Giorgio Chiellini

Valerio Pennicino

With the World Cup now a matter of days away, we profile the Juventus players who will feature in Brazil.

There is defending, and then there's the way Giorgio Chiellini does defending. Not that the Chiellini Way is a bad thing, it's just something that can be described as "full force" or "brute strength." Or, you know, one that only Chiellini can do, be effective at, and a good number of the time prove to be the master of.

Chiellini's style of defending is not textbook or glamorous by any means of the imagination. It's far from that of somebody like Anfrea Barzagli, who seemingly makes a tackle with the utmost of ease, or any of the legendary Italian central defenders of yesteryear. But what Chiellini lacks in style and grace he makes up for it with brute strength and physicality.

That's just how Giorgio Chiellini rolls. Don't like it? Well that's fine with him. He'll just continue to do crunching tackle after crunching tackle, rack up clearance after clearance.

But there's a reason why Chiellini finished the season as one of the highest rated defenders in all of Europe — that's because he is. He isn't some new kid on the block who just so happened to rise to prominence without any kind of fanfare. Chiellini has been a complete rock in the center of Juve's defense for years now. Even during the Juve Dark Ages when they finished in seventh for two years straight, Chiellini was an absolute monster. Just ask Zlatan if you don't remember.

It's no different with Juventus now well-established as the best team in Italy. And one of the biggest reasons is because Giorgio Chiellini is just a totally awkward and gangly badass who takes no prisoners on the field.

Caps: 68, Goals: 4
Group D

Giorgio Chiellini

Service for Italy: Chiellini is one of the few remaining players left from Italy's dreadful 2010 World Cup roster — a tournament where he was one of the few bright spots. Since then, Chiellini has at the heart of the Italy defense. He was essentially part of the transition from the 2006 World Cup-winning squad to the current day one that is looking to make a serious run in Brazil. One of the lone consistent pieces besides fellow Juventus teammates Andrea Pirlo and Gigi Buffon is having Chiellini at the center of the defense. Not a bad guy to have there, I'd say.

What makes him interesting: If you didn't know he was one of the best central defenders out there, Chiellini would probably just come off as some kind of computer geek who spends most of his time playing games on his laptop. In that case, it's pretty easy to understand that he's got a degree in Business and Economics, which supports the notion that he is a total nerd when not on the field. But when you see him screaming at opposing players because they do stupid things, you remember that there's more than meets the eye with Giorgio. He is one of the most rugged and hard-nosed — pun possibly intended — defenders in both Italy and Europe.

What to expect in Brazil: It's pretty easy — crushing tackles, limbs flailing all over the place as he racks up clearance after clearance. That's just Chiellini in a nutshell, and there's no changing it now. Chiellini will (hopefully) be starting alongside Andrea Barzagli if Cesare Prandelli decides to roll with a four-man backline in Italy's opener this weekend against England. If Prandelli rolls with a Juventus-esque 3-5-2-ish formation like some have thrown out there, then it could very well be a all-Bianconero defense for Gli Azzurri. Either way, Chiellini will certainly be one of the first names on Prandelli's team sheet. And no matter what formation is used, there's no reason to think Chiellini won't be the Chiellini we've seen lately. You know, one of the best central defenders in all of the world.

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