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LAFC defender Giorgio Chiellini retires

Giorgio Chiellin - LAFC


Legendary Italian center back Giorgio Chiellini, who joined LAFC in June 2022, has retired from professional soccer.

The 39-year-old announced the news Tuesday, standing among the game’s best-ever players at his position. He was out of contract after the 2023 MLS season.

"You have been the most beautiful and intense journey of my life," Chiellini wrote on social media. "You have been my everything. With you, I have traveled 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."

Chiellini joined LAFC during the same summer as Welsh legend Gareth Bale and current star Dénis Bouanga. That trio helped fuel an MLS Cup-Supporters’ Shield double in 2022, then Chiellini remained a central figure in LAFC reaching the MLS Cup and Concacaf Champions League finals in 2023.

Ultimately, the center back played 45 games for the Black & Gold across all competitions, registering one goal and one assist.

"Firstly, we would like to congratulate Giorgio on his legendary career,” LAFC co-president and GM John Thorrington said in a statement. "We consider ourselves grateful that Giorgio, Carolina, Nina, and Olivia chose to spend the last 18 months of Giorgio’s playing days at LAFC.

"Giorgio is the best defender of his generation and an even better person. Giorgio exceeded the incredibly high expectations we had for him both on and off the field. His leadership, professionalism, and character will leave a lasting legacy at LAFC, and we trust that our relationship with Giorgio will continue."

Chiellini is most renowned for his Juventus career, which spanned 17 years. While playing for La Vecchia Signora, he won nine consecutive Serie A titles from 2011-20. The three-time Serie A Defender of the Year competed in 561 games across all competitions for Juventus and is the club’s third longest-tenured player behind goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and forward Alessandro Del Piero.

While playing for Italy, Chiellini earned 117 caps (fifth-most all-time) and helped lead the Azzurri to the 2020 European Championship, where he was recognized as Defender of the Tournament. The Pisa native also appeared in the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups.

As Chiellini departs LAFC, Jesús Murillo and Aaron Long are key center backs on their roster. The club is expected to be busy this winter, potentially utilizing two open Designated Player spots while retooling for 2024.