Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli are two very different kinds of defenders. One does his job with pure strength, grit and a good portion of the time with his head wrapped in a huge bandage. The other has relied on instinct, technique and had a late-career renaissance that saw him go from career crossroads to cornerstone of a historic title run in Italy.
They’ve been associated with one another for the better part of the past decade.
And, as of Friday, they will be associated at Juventus together for another year.
Juventus announced that the two veteran defenders have extended their contracts. Barzagli, 37, added another year onto his current deal that was set to expire at the end of the month, keeping him with Juventus through the 2018-19 season. (Which very well could be his last one, by the way.) Chiellini, Juve’s newly-minted 33-year-old captain, signed a contract extension through 2020.
This is a surprise to nobody seeing as the Chiellini and Barzagli extensions have been talked about for months and months and months now. It’s basically been a mere formality, with the only thing missing being the actual announcement that the contract extensions were officially signed.
And, here it is!
For Barzagli, the 2018-19 season looks as though it will be the swansong to his fantastic Juventus and professional footballing career. At 37, the days of Barzagli being the centerpiece of Juve’s defense are behind him, but with so many key leadership pieces leaving this summer — Gigi Buffon, Stephan Lichtsteiner and maybe Claudio Marchisio — having him around will be a huge locker room presence at the very least.
Chiellini will take over as Juve’s captain with Buffon playing his final game in goal with the club back in May. As much as we joke — and facepalm — over his constant muscle injuries and all that, he’s still Juventus’ best defender and a huge part to this team being the best defense in Serie A year after year after year. And seeing as this latest contract extension will tie him to the club until he’s almost 36, it will be interesting to see if there will be another year or two tacked on after that. (Surely his body will be playing a huge part in the decision.)
Two very important players in Juventus’ current seven-year run of dominance in Serie A will be sticking around a little while longer. And for that, I am happy, because they’re pretty damn important to what this club has done and wants to continue to do going forward next season.