Legendary former Italy and Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini has announced his retirement from football.
The 39-year-old has decided to hang up his boots following the conclusion of the MLS season at the weekend, where his side Los Angeles FC lost the MLS Cup to Columbus Crew.
Chiellini, who won Euro 2020 with Italy, says it is time to “start new chapters” in his life.
“You have been the most beautiful and intense journey of my life,” he posted on social media.
“You have been my everything. With you I have travelled a unique and unforgettable path. But now it is time to start new chapters, face new challenges and write further important and exciting pages of life.”
The centre-back had amassed more than 700 career appearances after making his debut for Livorno in the 2000-01 season.
He spent the prime years of his career at Juventus – playing 561 games for the Bianconeri across all competitions – winning nine Serie A titles, before departing for LA to see out the twilight of his career in the US.
“You were always by our side, like a superhero ready to intervene if necessary,” Juventus said in a statement. “In your case, however, there was no shield, red cloak or bat-mobile: a blow to the head was enough – you took a lot of them – and off you went, all bandaged up.
“Once you wore that, there was no escape for our opponents: it was Kryptonite for any Superman who tried to challenge us, from the 'Romeo Neri' of Rimini to the 'Santiago Bernabeu' of Madrid.
“Even in the MLS, where you’ve brought to an end your stellar 23-season career, they had a little taste of what you could still do, at 39 years of age. On the slopes of Hollywood Hill they know how to tell the deeds of heroes from other times, of apparently normal men who later turn out to be extraordinary.
“Should they ask us which is our favourite, we have no doubt: with Giorgio from Livorno by our side, complete with that iconic bandage around his head, no one ever scared us. Wishing you all the best, captain!”