Juventus and Italy star Federico Chiesa opened up about his early memories of football, the strongest teammates he’s played with and how his cruciate ligament injury disrupted his career.

The 26-year-old forward missed almost a year of action after suffering the serious knee injury during a match with Roma in January 2022. He has since recovered, but many believe he still hasn’t hit the same heights as before, like when he played a crucial role in the Azzurri’s Euro 2020 victory.

Chiesa is part of Luciano Spalletti’s Italy squad for the ongoing European Championship and was awarded the Man of the Match title for the opening 2-1 win over Albania. In the background, his future with Juventus is shrouded in doubt as he enters the last year of his contract in Turin.

Chiesa opens up

Speaking to France Football, Chiesa first opened up about his early memories of football and how his father helped his career.

“I grew up with football, watching my father play and wearing the shirts he collected. When he played in Parma, Buffon came to our house, and he scared me. He was a big guy, with that look and his hair standing on end.

“I didn’t know him, I was scared of him and I started crying. Being a son of a player never bothered me. I had the dream of reaching Serie A and I also got there thanks to the right and precious advice of a footballer father.”

He was asked about the strongest teammates he’s played with so far.

“I really like playing with Vlahovic, he’s an exceptional player and a great friend. I liked playing with Ronaldo, Dybala, Muriel, Saponara and Ilicic. And then Franck Ribery: my goodness, what a player.

“And then he’s also a great man in the dressing room, always happy and smiling, with enormous mental strength.

“He was at the end of his career at Fiorentina, but he really impressed me. Technically, in dribbling, he and Paulo Dybala are the strongest I’ve ever seen with my own eyes.”

Finally, Chiesa commented on the cruciate ligament injury suffered two years ago.

“The injury slowed down my career, but it taught me a lot. Before I was probably a more instinctive, a more impulsive player, and maybe my game has changed a little, but not my speed. Now I’m back to being very close to level I was before the injury.”

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