Giorgio Chiellini has assured Juventus fans there will be “no surprises” as he prepares to sign a new deal with the Serie A club.
The 33-year-old defender is out of contract this summer and he has been linked with a move to Chelsea, to link up with his former club and country coach Antonio Conte. However, he says talks over an extension with the Bianconeri will lead to a positive conclusion.
“We’re going to renew my contract soon and there will be no surprises,” Chiellini told Sky Sport Italia. “We’re close, but right now the management are too busy with the transfer market — next month we’ll definitely get it done.”
February could also be crucial in determining the future of Gianluigi Buffon, who is also out of contract in the summer, but appears to be having doubts about retiring.
Chiellini cannot see any reason why the 40-year-old should feel obliged to hang up his gloves this summer, although he would not pressure him into making a decision either way.
“I think he’s got the power to stop time,” Chiellini said. “If you see him now and think of how he was five or six years ago, you wouldn’t say he’s got any worse. After the World Cup in South Africa, he had the strength to get people talking about him again by changing his lifestyle.
“Gigi works hard on being like this, and in this way he has managed to extend his career. I think he just needs to be serene and find the right choice for his life, because that is what we are really talking about.
“He could keep on playing for a long time and it might end up being me retiring before him.”
Juve are going to need both Buffon and Chiellini at the top of their game for what promises to be a battle to the end with Napoli for the title.
The Azzurri have a one-point advantage and Chiellini expects them to be challenging right through to May.
“The difference between other European leagues and Serie A from last year is that Napoli are doing extraordinary things, as are we, and if you look at other leagues, you can see quite a clear situation already in January which, barring any major collapses, allows you to predict who will win,” he said.
“It’s going to be a great battle and we are ready for it. We’re excited about this challenge going all the way to the end and we know that the Scudetto is not going to be decided in March this year, but we’re going to have to wait to the very end of the season.”
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.