When your dad has won the UEFA Cup with Parma and finished the competition as top scorer, it’s difficult to forge your own career without those inevitable comparisons.
After moving on from Parma, Enrico Chiesa made 85 appearances for Fiorentina between 1999 and 2002. At first, he played alongside Gabriel Batistuta, and when the famous Argentine number nine moved to Roma, Enrico eventually replaced him as the leading striker.
You can see then, why his son Federico had a heavy weight on his shoulders when he made his debut for Fiorentina – the same side that his famous father had scored 45 times for during three seasons – away at Juventus in 2016.
Yet it was clear from the get-go that Chiesa Jr. had a special talent of his own. Some of his sublime touches, turns and goals made for perfect clips that went viral on the internet.
Despite those flashes of brilliance, he was far from the finished article. Too often, he would go for a shot on goal when he needed to pass, and he’d pass when a shot would’ve been much more effective.
His final season with Fiorentina was by far his best; he finished the campaign with 10 goals and six assists. Previously, the highest he’d managed was six goals in a single season and in 2018/19 he’d taken 133 shots to get to that total.
It soon became apparent that Juventus – Fiorentina’s most hated rival – were courting the home-grown star. Juve have a long tradition with fielding the very best Italian-born talent, and they set their sights on Federico Chiesa.
They got their way.
Chiesa joined Juventus in the summer of 2020, and he was still only 22. Although he struggled to find form at first, it soon became clear that his huge potential would be unlocked in Turin. Under then-boss Andrea Pirlo, Chiesa not only took the step up in his stride, but his form exploded after that initial slow start.
A tally of eight goals and eight assists doesn’t tell the whole story; Chiesa had finally learned how to help the team. His decision-making improved, and he no longer made petulant outbursts when things didn’t go his way.
The whole of Europe got to see just how much Chiesa had improved when he became a key part of Italy’s win at Euro 2020 last summer.
He was named as Man of the Match by UEFA in the final group match versus Wales and scored in extra time to help send the Azzurri through to a quarter-final clash versus Belgium with an eventual 2-1 win over Austria.
It was these performance that truly announced Chiesa as a world class footballer - and one that, at just 24 years of age, will only get better in the coming years.