the beautiful, the bad and the ugly / Finalissima / Italy-Argentina /

Starting from Juventus, soon to retire in Nazionale, Giorgio Chiellini will take advantage of a prestigious poster against Argentina, this Wednesday at Wembley, to say goodbye to very high level football. Without him on the meadows, continental football will be a little less original, a little less funny, a little less fake, a little less smiling and a little less Italian. In short, a little less beautiful.

It seems that Giorgio Chiellini is not handsome. Physically, we will have actually seen more advantageous than his prominent nose, his large disarticulated body, and his slightly humped back. Footballistically, the relative elegance of his raises and ball-to-foot strides also gravitate several cables from the long remote-controlled passes of Virgil van Dijk and Sergio Ramos. While friend Giorgio will retire from international football at the age of 37, after the Italy-Argentina friendly match on Wednesday 1er June, so we will have to say goodbye to a huge, but allegedly unsightly defender. Unless it is precisely the opposite. And if the classic canons of plastic beauty were nothing, in the end, compared to what Giorgio Chiellini will have brought to the ball?


Italy and Turin, of course, could only adore this man. In the land of great defenders, we love to add yin to yang, talent at work, the art of anticipation to that of the duel, in doublets that complement each other, like opposites that attract each other: creative and whimsical Bonucci, the Boot will thus have found in Chiellini a negative, destructive and mentally unsinkable twin. The native of Pisa embraces the tradition of the famous « marker » these black angels of calcium, totally dedicated to the demolition of the opposing game. Gender icons? « La Rocca » Tarcisio Burgnich, legendary defender of Inter and Nazionalethe former stopper juventino Claudio Gentile – often cited as one of the most brutal players in the history of the game – or even more recently Fabio Cannavaro. So many intractable temple guardians in the duel and anticipation, but also capable of bending the rules, fair play and good manners, to achieve their ends.

The specificity of Chiellini will have been to always punctuate his shirt pulling, his tactical mistakes and his furtive blows with a huge smile, always complicit, often contagious. As if all this were just the natural order of things, the very essence of a human comedy that would only be sterile and uniform without the rough edges, vices and contradictions that players of its caliber offered so brilliantly in the play theatre.

The charm of the strange

This sunny, spontaneous smile is special, because Giorgio Chiellini himself is: holder of a degree in economics, capable of being perfectly hilarious in serious moments – like before the penalty shoot-out against the Spain in the semi-final of the last Euro – faithful to Juventus which he had chosen to follow in Serie B in 2006, the Piedmontese defender exudes an almost anachronistic authenticity. On the meadow, its silhouette and its gestures print the retina unusually. Chiellini is the beauty that emerges from ugliness. The inexplicable grace of an ugly, stiff body. With an ungrateful face. Of a pair of sprawling and asymmetrically regulated arms. From a tackle at the end of the race, a duel won and an anti-game foul. During his 21-year career, no one has summoned the splendor of the strange better than him. The purity of the bizarre. The beauty of difference. In an increasingly standardized and stereotyped football, this is perhaps the rarest and most memorable thing today. In a word, more beautiful.

By Adrien Candeau

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