Italian Chiellini withdraws from internationals after friendly against Argentina

Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini will retire from international football after the European champions played a friendly against their South American counterparts Argentina at Wembley in June.

Italy’s failure to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Qatar appears to have precipitated the 37-year-old Juventus defender’s decision to play against Argentina in London, where the Azzurri won the Championship of Europe last July, will be his last.

“I will say goodbye to the national team at Wembley, where I had the pinnacle of my career winning the Euros,” Chiellini told DAZN after Juve’s 2-1 win at Sassuolo in Serie A Monday (April 26).

“I would like to say goodbye to the Azzurri with a beautiful memory. It will certainly be my last game with Italy.”

With 116 appearances for the national team, Chiellini is fifth in the Italian all-time rankings alongside Andrea Pirlo, with only Daniele De Rossi, Paolo Maldini, Fabio Cannavaro and Gianluigi Buffon ahead of him.

The veteran centre-back, who replaced Juventus on Monday, however, has not decided to extend his club career beyond this season.

“My love affair with Juventus does not end, it will never end,” he added. “Of course, by the end of the season, I have to assess everything, talk to my family about what is best.

“Let’s first get to fourth place (in Serie A) and win the Coppa Italia, then we’ll sit down with my two families – at home and at Juventus – to figure out what’s best for everyone.

“It was the same last summer, I took the time and I only signed the new contract after the Euros. At my age, you can’t plan too much in the long term, but it is natural, everything is fine.”

Juve are fourth, eight points clear of fifth-placed AS Roma with four games to go in the race for a Champions League spot. They will face Inter Milan in the Coppa Italia final on May 11.

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