Juventus’ veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini feels that Pep Guardiola’s associated style of play is being replicated by defenders in Italy, subsequently causing Italian defender's to lose their ‘identity’.
The 33-year-old feels that their first absence from a World Cup since 1958 is proof that they are facing a problem, and he claims that his compatriots need to get back to basics and work on producing high-quality defenders for Italy to be proud of.
Chiellini said in an interview with the Daily Mail: “Pep Guardiola spoiled and ruined the Italian defender.”
He continued: “He is a fantastic coach with a fantastic mind but Italian trainers have tried to copy him without the same knowledge and then in the last 10 years, we lost our identity.
We lost our identity of [Paolo] Maldini, [Franco] Baresi, [Fabio] Cannavaro, [Alessandro] Nesta, [Giuseppe] Bergomi, [Claudio] Gentile, [Gaetano] Scirea... between 1984 and 1995, we have only [Leonardo] Bonucci.
“In 10 years, we didn't launch one good defender. I hope now we restart and relaunch Italian football. The World Cup result is the proof of our problem.”
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The Juventus defender - who won 96 caps for his country - stated that the shock of failing to qualify for their first World Cup since 1958 should be the catalyst for change in Italian football, and explained that he won't watch the tournament in Russia.
“Honestly, it [watching the World Cup] will be like a dagger in my stomach. It will not be a good month. I will see bits and check the scores but I can’t imagine sitting at the TV to watch the World Cup at home."