Federico Chieso looks like a sweet, nice guy and after the European Championship final, won by Italy, he proved that he really is. While his teammates were partying on the field, he called his mother to tell her he loves her.
Federico Chiesa has chosen the right role models for his football career and is now well on his way to becoming a star himself. Earlier this season, the Juventus right winger imitated his great example and teammate Ronaldo by taking on his famous bullfighter pose simultaneously with the Portuguese. The assist for Ronaldo came from Chiesa. “I copied his excitement,” he said after the 2-1 win against Napoli. “It is very contagious.”
With his goal in extra time against Austria, Chiesa followed another player’s example, as his father Enrico Chiesa scored twenty-five years earlier, at the 1996 European Championship.
But Chiesa made the most impression in the semi-final against Spain with his imitation of Lorenzo Insigne. He scored with a tir a gir, the Italian term for a curved shot that turns so far out that the keeper can’t reach it. At the last moment the ball turns inwards, to drob into the goal behind the keeper. The tir a gir was a speciality of the Italian football legend Alessandro Del Piero and Lorenzo Insigne had already scored twice at the European Championship with the curling shots: against Turkey (the 3-0) and more beautiful, more important and from further away against Belgium (2-0).
Insigne has been praised with a song for its signature curl shots, but Chiesa’s curl , and the attack that preceded it, is equally worthy of praise. “It all started with Gigi [Donnarumma]’s cleverness,” Chiesa explained after the match. “He saw that the Spaniards were not in formation. The manager had said at halftime that we could get them in trouble at that point. Gigi had seen that. Lorenzo Insigne handed the ball to Ciro [Immobilé] and then I scored.”
TIR A GIR: FEDERICO CHIESA’S GOAL AT THE EUROS SEMI-FINAL AGAINST SPAIN
As a substitute in the 84th minute, Chiesa had only just entered the game as a substitute. He can’t really be found in most of the top statistics of this European Championship yet, although he does impress with his score of 1.53 shots on the goal per game. In this ranking he is seventh, behind four Spaniards, the Czech Patrick Schick and the Dane Kasper Dohlberg.
The fact that Chiesa does not hide his admiration for his great examples makes him sympathetic. In an interview with Italian television a few years ago, he said that as a kid he loved watching his father’s goals on Youtube.
“I am very proud to have scored, just like my father,” he said at the press conference after the match against Austria. Shortly before the European Championship final, the Italian channel Sky shared a video in which dad Enrico Chiesa prepares the ball for Federico in the living room. He can clearly barely walk and is still a bit unsteady on his feet, but he does cheer happily when he manages to kick the ball that his father puts out in front of him time and again.
Born in Genoa on October 25, 1997, Chiesa started his career with Settignanese, the club of a town near Florence, where he played in youth teams from the age of ten and where he made his debut in Serie A at the age of eighteen. In his adolescence he sometimes had a hard time as a football player. Chiesa was a little behind physically, but his family continued to believe in him, so he told the Italian magazine Undici in 2019. “If I didn’t play, I tried to think: I’ll play the next game. Continuing to work hard during workouts paid off in the end. My perseverance has brought me into Serie A. And I try to improve there every week now. It is the attitude that Cristiano Ronaldo also has. He is not as talented as Messi, but he has won as many golden balls. An exemplary pro like him shows that every detail counts if you want to get to the top and stay there.”
Though he may still look up to other football players, with his goal against Spain, no one can ignore him as a top football player. He also seems to realize that, because the way in which Chiesa celebrates his goals now looks quite authentic. He kneels, spreads his arms and gazes dreamily at the sky. Not as a bullfighter, but as a star thanking his audience. Federico Chiesa can now compete with his great examples.