In case you didn’t know, Italy aren’t going to the World Cup this summer.
The Azzurri fell to Sweden in the play-offs back in November, meaning the four-time World Cup winners have failed to reach the finals for the first time since 1958.
Gianluigi Buffon cried, Gian Piero Ventura was sacked and world looked on with a mixture of smugness and disappointment.
And legendary defender Giorgio Chiellini think blame lies on the broad shoulders of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.
Hang on, what?
That’s right, in an interview with Italian outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Juventus defender claimed that a lot of managers have attempted to imitate the Manchester City manager’s elegant tactical style of pressing, countering and possession, without having the necessary players to do so.
Looking ahead to the upcoming tournament, Chiellini said: “The months of June and July will be a stab.
“I will follow the results, but for sure I will not watch the matches of others on the couch, it would be too bad.”
And when discussing the reasoning behind Italy’s failure, he said: “There are many, but one, for example, is the lack of high-level central defenders.
“We do not produce more people like Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi and Fabio Cannavaro.
“And the fault, so to speak, is the technicians who wanted to imitate the game of Pep Guardiola without having the skills.”
Chiellini will be up against Spurs striker Harry Kane when Juventus host the London club in the Champions League next week.
And the 33-year-old was full of compliments for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, saying: “Kane is fantastic, now he scores as much and more than Messi, but Belgian defenders Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld are also good and will be a tough challenge.”
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