The Italian defender joked with his counterpart in Spain during the coin before penalty kicks in the semi-final
Italian captain Giorgio Chiellini says he was not playing mind with Jordi Alba when he grabbed the Spanish left-back before the penalty goal in the Euro 2020 semi-final.
The defender laughed, bumped and joked Alba during the coin toss to decide which side would take the first penalty in the shootout, which the Azzurri won.
It has been speculated that the 36-year-old wanted to gain a psychological advantage over the Barcelona star, but he maintains that he just enjoyed it.
What was said?
“You can see in these last games that I have grown as a player, but I also enjoy every last drop of my career,” Chiellini said during a press conference ahead of the Euro 2020 final against England.
“I always have a smile on my face but have the utmost respect for my opponents. I will hug, smile or laugh at them, but it’s something I’ve always done. I’d done it in these games and more in these games European Championship.I try to really enjoy every moment.
‘It was not mind games [with Jordi Alba]. This is how I am in good and bad times. My teammates love me, and sometimes opponents will like me less, but I feel there is always mutual respect.
“I feel like I’ve always given and received a lot about this one.”
Chiellini calls ‘chef’ Mancini
The Juventus defender says his team’s successful campaign was due to the mix of characters in the locker room.
But he praised coach Roberto Mancini for bringing the group together and making them into a winning team.
“There are some more introverted and extroverted members of the team,” he said.
“There are inexperienced and experienced members, and players who try to get the sting out of things with a word or two.
“Everyone has their own role and we are all very important. That’s what brings us together, and we have an excellent chef with us who can mix the ingredients. It has definitely helped us a lot.”