Giorgio Chiellini is loving life in the MLS.
The legendary Italian defender called time on his 17-year spell at Juventus in the summer, opting as many ageing players do to wave goodbye to European football by crossing the Atlantic for the American dream.
By signing for Los Angeles FC, Chiellini has followed in the footsteps of icons such as David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard by plumping for a move to California.
Chiellini vs Real Salt Lake
And the 37-year-old is in esteemed company at LAFC itself with none other than Gareth Bale, a five-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid, also signing for the club in recent weeks.
In fact, the Wales star found himself on the scoresheet during LAFC’s 4-1 win over Real Salt Lake on Sunday, which proved to be Chiellini’s fourth game in black and gold, with a spectacular solo strike.
But not before Chiellini had made headlines of his own for a bizarre moment at the Rio Tinto Stadium that not only saw him awarded with a yellow card, but also led to him going viral on Twitter.
With the visitors leading 3-1 courtesy of Cristian Arango’s brace and a Kellyn Acosta strike, Chiellini used – how shall we say? – unique methods to thwart a Real Salt Lake counterattack in the second-half.
Chiellini goes viral
The Utah club had freshly snuffed out an LAFC cross into the box when a clearance from one end of the pitch to the other saw Chiellini faced with a dilemma of whether to come forward or drop back.
With Sergio Córdova on his shoulder, the Euro 2020 winner decided to opt for the former by trying to nip the counterattack in the bud, but seemingly misjudged his charge in the process and ended up turning to volleyball.
That’s because, in the space of an astonishing few seconds, Chiellini didn’t opt to head the ball clear, but instead raised his arms to bat the ball from whence it came having presumably been caught out by the bounce.
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Chiellini’s moment of madness
It was such a hilariously blatant handball that everyone in the stadium and all those watching on Twitter had to do a double-take, before realising that Chiellini could well be sent off for his actions.
However, with one of his fellow defenders ensuring that he wasn’t the last man, Chiellini ultimately got away with a booking for his bizarre actions and left a few of his supporters laughing in the stands.
And you will no doubt have a similar reaction when you watch the Juventus legend doubling down on his maverick reputation with a moment of madness that leaves us equally amused and baffled – check it out:
Chielini is making a mockery of MLS 🤣pic.twitter.com/tuAWaUMlMv— Troll Football Media (@Troll__Footbal) August 7, 2022
You love to see it.
Chiellini entertaining as ever
The only thing better than Chiellini channeling his fellow Los Angeles resident LeBron James is the fact that he then proceeds to act like absolutely nothing has happened, seemingly even protesting with the referee.
While, yes, as much as a footballing purist might be wagging their finger at Chiellini not showing great sportsmanship, you’ve got to respect the sort: ‘ah, bugger it,’ approach that saw him spoil the attack.
And Chiellini is hitherto proving his doubters wrong on the other side of the pond as he boasts wins over Nashville SC, Sporting Kansas City, Seattle Sounders and now Real Salt Lake from his first four games.
Some things just never change.