Giorgio Chiellini believes it will be “beautiful” to end his international career against Argentina at Wembley on Wednesday after leading Italy to Euro 2020 glory at the London ground last year.
The now 37-year-old was a key figure, both as captain and defender when Italy beat hosts England on penalties in the final of a tournament that was delayed some 12 months by the coronavirus pandemic.
Now the Azzurri face the South American continental champions in the inaugural Finalissima at Wembley on Wednesday, a match where Chiellini is set to win his 117th and last cap.
Italy manager Roberto Mancini is likely to include a number of his Euro 2020 stars in the starting XI for a match he has said represents the “end of a cycle” following the shocking failure of the four-time winners to qualify for this year’s World Cup finals in Qatar.
Chiellini, asked about ending his international career against Argentina, told UEFA.com: “It’s beautiful.
“Argentina have exceptional players. It’s obvious that the first one who comes to your mind is (Lionel) Messi but the others around him are fantastic. They didn’t win (the Copa America) by accident.
“Messi is a football icon. It’s not for me to say if he is the greatest of all time or not. It will just be a pleasure to play my last game for the national team against him.
“It has been, without a doubt, better than I could ever have imagined. When you’re a kid, you dream of playing for the national team, because that’s the ultimate.