No more blowing hot-and-cold: Federico Chiesa needs to find consistency and deliver for Azzurri at Euro 2024

Federico Chiesa has been a figure of frustration for too long. This summer, the Juventus forward needs to replicate his Euro 2020 form and to finally start delivering on a consistent basis for club and country.

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The Italy Men’s National Team will come to the 2024 European Championship as reigning champions, but they are not in the same form as they were in three years earlier, lacking inspiration and conviction of late.

This squad heading to Germany has struggled to find an identity since Luciano Spalletti replaced Roberto Mancini in 2023, but one player more than any other could inspire the Azzurri this summer: Federico Chiesa.

When Italy triumphed at Euro 2020, the Juventus forward impressed with his daring runs, ability to beat opponents, and by popping up with crucial goals. That Azzurri side played well collectively but, this time, Chiesa needs to shoulder more responsibility if they are to be competitive in any way.

Federico Chiesa celebrates scoring for the Italy Men’s National Team. (@Azzurri)

Chiesa continues to underwhelm at Juventus, but will enjoy more freedom with Italy

Ahead of Euro 2024, Chiesa performed to a disappointing standard at Juventus during the 2023/24 campaign. In Serie A, he scored nine goals and supplied three assists in 33 matches.

Although Massimiliano Allegri‘s conservative approach may have held him back to an extent, truly world-class players can thrive in any system and any football philosophy.

It is with Italy that we have seen the Bianconeri forward play some of his best football. With the Azzurri, he doesn’t have to play as a support striker, or even worse, at wing-back.

Mancini and Spalletti have played him as a winger in an attacking trident, and when he is switched on, he can star on either flank. Chiesa cannot make excuses about being played out of position for Italy or being held back by a conservative approach.

At Euro 2024, he can play his natural game, but he must make the most of it.

Federico Chiesa shoots with the Italy Men’s National Team against Spain at the 2020 European Championship. (@Azzurri_en)

It has not helped Chiesa that he has had knee injuries, but he needs to show courage and display his mental strength. Although he cannot be compared to the legendary Roberto Baggio, he can learn from the example set by ‘The Divine Ponytail’. The former forward had two serious knee injuries in his late teens, but still managed to have a great football career.

Whether it is the ability to handle pressure, to have great focus, leadership, or great self-belief, the best players have always had more than just raw talent to succeed at the top. Chiesa must display those attributes for Italy at Euro 2024.

Positive signs

Juventus’ Federico Chiesa celebrates. (@juventusfcen)

Paradoxically, Chiesa’s statistics ahead of Euro 2024 tournament are better than those in 2021. He had scored eight Serie A goals in 2020/21 for Juventus, and before that memorable European Championship, he had scored once in 25 matches for the Azzurri. He scored twice in that tournament, and he has scored another four since.

Although he could take solace in those statistics, he was still a developing player. Now, he is meant to be in his prime, and not just be a trusty sidekick.

It’s time for Chiesa to be the man for Italy. If the old adage “the older you get, the wiser you become” rings true, then Chiesa needs to be smarter than he was three years ago and add more goals.

Enough excuses, it’s time for Chiesa to deliver consistently

Chiesa is 26 now, which is traditionally the age that footballers are meant to be at their peak. This is his chance to show that he can be remembered as one of Italy‘s greats, and that his Euro 2020 heroics were not a flash in the pan.

One player does not make a team, but one player can make a big difference. In this Azzurri squad under Spalletti, Chiesa can be the talisman, but he cannot be afraid to shoulder responsibility.

That Chiesa has talent is undeniable, but he must apply himself, or Italy will be heading home from Germany early.

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