The centre-back now sees the funny side of an incident that brought mirth at his expense
Italy legend Giorgio Chiellini has rewatched his infamous foul on England’s Bukayo Saka from the Euro 2020 final and laughed at the moment, which he called the “meme of the summer”.
Chiellini, then 36, was far too slow to contain the speedy Saka and tugged him down outrageously from behind by the collar of his shirt.
Despite the Azzurri going on to win the match, the incident spawned jokes on social media and comments that the game had passed by the defender.
“This became the symbol of Euro 2020 as a whole,” he said while laughing.
“The most heavily used meme of summer 2021. It was probably one of the only mistakes I made during the Euros. It was in the 90th minute and I’d read the flight of the ball, thinking I could shepherd it out of play, when really I could have controlled it.
“I was convinced I could put my body between Saka and the ball and let it go out of play, but he wriggled round me. When he wriggled round from behind and had that space to run into, my reaction was to grab him. I grabbed him good!”
Chiellini fought through injury to appear in 21 Serie A matches – his highest total since 2018-19.
He’s since announced he will leave Juventus, with a summer move to MLS reportedly on the table.
Saka, meanwhile, continued his impressive development at Arsenal as he contributed 18 goal involvements in the Premier League.