The prominent international defender has taken time out of his schedule to respond to his fans from all over Asia, exclusively on Goal.comIf you had any pressing questions for Giorgio Chiellini, what would they be? A July initiative of Goal.com, fans and followers in Asia were given the unprecedented opportunity to learn what they most desired to know about the Serie A winner and Euro 2012 finalist.
Responses from his supporters proved immediate and widespread whether directly over the website or via Twitter, with a select number of readers' questions being answered in person by Chiellini. Ranging from topics including how he felt following Juventus icon Alessandro Del Piero's departure from the club to the prospect of facing Barcelona in the Champions League next season, this proved an excellent chance for fans across Asia to become more closely acquainted with their favourite superstar.
With the focus first and foremost on Asia, Chiellini kicked off the interview by answering Japan's Tsubasa Ozora's question, praising the progress of Asian football as well as citing Inter full-back and Serie A opponent Yuto Nagatomo as an example.
Q: What is your impression of Asian football and what do you think of Yuto Nagatomo at Inter?
A: Asian football keeps improving, and that's proven by the fact that so many Asian players are doing well in Europe nowadays. Nagatomo at Inter is surely one of them!
In addition to the sport's increasing quality on the continent, fan bases for Italian clubs are likewise expanding across the region, a movement praised by Chiellini in response to Luca Messina and Vincenzo De Laurentis from Singapore.
Q: We're opening a new Juventus Fan Club in Singapore. Are you and Juventus interested in increasing the number of supporters in Asia? How do you communicate with them and all your fans all over the world?
A: It is great to hear that Italian football now has many supporters in Asia. There is definitely a reciprocal interest with great names such as Marcello Lippi now working in China - the country where we'll play the Italian Supercup!
To keep in touch with my fans, I am a bit of a tech-geek and have helped in developing the Chiello App, which let's you know all you need to know about me! People can also check out my official website! www.chiello.it, www.giorgiochiellini.com
Indeed, Chiellini's worldwide popularity initially began when he started his career plying his trade as a left-back before being moved to the heart of defence. Such traits are not dissimilar to those of legendary AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini, with questions from James Marassa from Australia and Gian Farrentio from Indonesia confirming as much as to who the 27-year-old's childhood hero was.
Q: When you were a boy, who was your idol, and how did he influence your career?
A: This is an easy one: as a boy, my idol was the great Paolo Maldini.
Q: With Juve, as well as with the Azzurri, you always wear the #3 jersey. Does that number carry a special meaning for you?
A: As mentioned, Paolo Maldini was my favorite player, so I always wanted to play with "his" #3.
Juventus were relegated to the Italian Serie B in 2006 following their alleged involvement in a league match-fixing scandal, with Chiellini sticking with the club amidst interest from other prestigious sides alongside his former captain, Del Piero. The striker has left the Turin giants after his contract expired this summer, following 19 years of illustrious service. Kim Ye-Chan of Korea and Zhang Zhang from China sought Chiellini's opinions on these matters.
Q: When Juve was relegated to Serie B, you decided to stick with the Bianconeri. What gave you motivation to stay?
A: It doesn't matter in which category, Juve was and always will be a great club, so it was not a difficult decision.
Q: How did you say "goodbye" to Alessandro Del Piero, a Juve legend?
A: The best way to part was to win a legendary scudetto together with Alessandro. It was a honor to play with him, and I wish Ale all the best for his next adventure.
Several readers then engaged Italian football's synonymity with producing great defenders, approaching Chiellini to inquire who he felt had been his ever best partner at the back before asking him if he saw any youngsters capable of taking on his mantle in the future.
Q: Who is or was your favorite partner in defense, and who was your most challenging opponent?
A: As a team-mate, the one who taught me the most was undoubtly Fabio Cannavaro. As an opponent, the fiercest bouts were always against Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a fantastic player.
Q: Amongst young Italian defenders, do you see a future Chiellini?
A: Well, I feel I am still quite young, so I hope it will be a while before we see a 'future Chiellini'; however, there are quite a few good, young defenders in Italy, such as Astori, Ogbonna, Ranocchia and Camporese [of Fiorentina] - all prospects for the national team as well.
Chiellini has thus far spent his entire career in Italy, and was queried as to whether he might look to boost his international stature by playing abroad one day. While indicating an interest in such a prospect, the defender remained non-committal to the idea and instead reaffirmed his only aim at the moment was to focus on taking Juventus to new heights.
Q: In the future, would you like to try an experience playing abroad?
A) Playing abroad is one of the things I might like to do in the future, but as now, I have only Juventus in my mind.
His response coincides with Juventus' return to the Champions League next season, following a two-year hiatus from Europe's premier club competition. Chiellini touched on which other striker, apart than Ibrahimovic, he would relish the challenge of facing in the next campaign, and talked of sharing similar personal ambitions alongside fellow team vice-captain Claudio Marchisio.
Q: Which striker would you most like to challenge, and would you like to meet Barcelona in next season's Champions League?
A: Sure, I'd love to play against Messi and his Barcelona, but... even possibly in the final!
Q: Who should be the future's captain at Juve, you or your friend Claudio Marchisio?
A: I don't know, but I believe that both Claudio and I have what it takes to be Juve's captain.
The centre-back made 34 appearances with Juventus in a successful league campaign that also took them to the Coppa Italia final. Chiellini is currently on extended pre-season leave after coming within a hair's breadth of winning Euro 2012 with Cesare Prandelli's Italy national team, only to falter at the final hurdle against Spain.