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‘I was a fool to turn down Arsenal’ Chiellini reveals regret

Chiellini
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Veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini reveals he had an opportunity to join Arsenal but turned down the offer to stay in Italy.

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If things had happened differently, Giorgio Chiellini could have seen his career pan out at Arsenal instead of Juventus.

The Italian defender reveals he had a chance to join the Gunners at the age of 16 but opted to stay in his native country.

Chiellini joined Juventus as a 21-year-old back in 2005 and has been a mainstay with the Serie A giants ever since. He has made well over 300 appearances for the club and has already gained his status as a club hero.

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In well over a decade at the club, the Italian has won nine Serie A titles and four Coppa Italia trophies, as well as reaching the final of the Champions League twice.

However, it could have been a different story.

Chiellini revealed that Arsene Wenger tried to sign him while he was at boyhood club Livorno but he rejected a move. Looking back at it all, the 36-year-old admits it is a decision he regrets till date.

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In an interview with French magazine So Foot, he said: “In hindsight, I was a fool to decline that offer. I was 16, I played in Serie C, I got a huge offer.

“I didn’t feel ready. If I had accepted, it would have given the impression of betraying Livorno.”

In the same interview, Chiellini also revealed the respect he holds for fellow veteran and AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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He added: “I respect Zlatan a lot, we respect each other. We were team-mates, in my first season at Juve. I was never afraid to face him, never took a step back in front of him. He already had extraordinary physical strength.

“After that he became the absolute enemy, when he moved. The best enemy of my career is Ibrahimovic, without a doubt.”