Giorgio Chiellini played with passion on Wednesday as Juventus eliminated Tottenham Hotspur from the UEFA Champions League.
Following the emotional win, the stalwart Italian defender shifted gears.
Chiellini will attend the funeral of Fiorentina captain and 14-times capped Italian center back Davide Astori on Thursday, and said he’s “cried many times” over the defender.
[ MORE: The latest on Davide Astori’s passing ]
Astori died over the weekend, and Serie A postponed its Sunday matches. The 31-year-old was found deceased in his hotel room, and has since had his number retired by Fiorentina and Cagliari.
Fiorentina also guaranteed his contract for life in order to benefit his wife and children. Here’s Chiellini, from the BBC:
“We dedicate this win to him but not only this match. I cry many times, I always believe in him because he was a fantastic player,” said Chiellini, who fought back the tears during a minute’s silence before the game.
“It’s very difficult during the match because we have to think of the game and our opponents. It is not easy but he will always be in our heart. And tomorrow we go to give last ‘ciao’ with our teammates.
“It’s difficult but we have to continue our lives. For us he was important for our national team, he always brought positive emotion and always smiled. We would like to continue to smile in our heart.”
As for the match, Chiellini had some biting words for Spurs fans.
The Italian believes Juve’s mettle is what got them through, and Spurs’ lack of big game success came back to bite them.
“It’s the history of Tottenham,” he said. “They always created many chances to score so much, but at the end they miss always something to arrive at the end. We believe in the history. We saw it yesterday between Paris and Real, the history is important, with experience it is important, and tonight we use our skill and arrive at the win.”
It’s to the point, but there was something to the grind and vigor in which Juve pursued the win while Spurs lost their way up 1-0. Yes, Tottenham kept fighting for an equalizer, but there was a sense that The Old Lady would find a way once Higuain made it 1-1.
Juve boss Max Allegri had a similar way to sum it up: