'The Guardiola way has ruined a generation of defenders': Giorgio Chiellini

The Italy international believes that the Italians are forgetting their tradition of defending

Giorgio Chiellini
Giorgio Chiellini Reuters

Juventus centre-half Giorgio Chiellini has blamed Pep Guardiola's football philosophy for ruining a generation of Italian defenders.

Guardiola promotes the idea that every player on the pitch should be comfortable on the ball and look to create play.

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Chiellini though does not feel it fits in with the Italian style.

According to Spanish outlet AS, Chiellini also commented on the new philosophies of football that are emerging with defending being forgotten in favour of attacking football, and said that Italy need more goalscorers like in the past to get back to the top of international football but that "the return of some true defense would also help."

"The Guardiola way has ruined a generation of defenders as now they all look to go forward, when there are crosses there are not that type of Italian defender that intimidates the rival, we are forgetting our tradition," he told Corriere dello Sport, as per the Marca.

"We will never be like the tiki-taka of Spain. Last year I was criticised when I said that Juventus would never beat Real 6-0. In order to return to the elite we need a strong centre-forward like we had 20 years ago but also an imposing defender would be good."

Chiellini does though believe that there is talent coming through the ranks in Italy.

"It is not true that there are not promising Italian defenders, look at Rugani, Caldara and Romagnoli who are three lads from the 1994 generation," said Chiellini.

"They still need to develop with international experience like I did but the truth is that when I was their age I had less experience. They will do well in the future."

Italy prepares for a massive World Cup qualifying game against Sweden on Friday night as football lovers around the world brace for the possibility of a World Cup without the Azzurri. It's something Giorgio Chiellini admits would be a huge shame, "This country has been participating in the World Cup for 60 years and it would be a shame if we didn't qualify. However, with Spain in our group, we knew that the play-offs was a possibility."

The central defender talked about the performance of Italy's defense and the balance needed in any team, "In the Euros, the BBC (Barzagli, Bonucci and Chiellini) made the headlines, but it was the whole team that helped, starting with the strikers who tore them open. The best defense in the world will not be enough if there is no balance in the team."