The Chiesa name is no stranger to the European Championships. Federico’s father, Enrico, also represented Italy at the tournament in 1996, coincidentally also held in England. Enrico Chiesa equalized against the Czech Republic at Anfield. 25 years later, his son opened the scoring against both Austria and Spain at Wembley.
Chiesa has gradually risen to stardom over the past couple of years. Having developed through the Fiorentina youth setup, he made his debut at eighteen in the opening game of the 2016/17 Serie A season against Juventus.
At the turn of the year, Chiesa would score his first league goals in back-to-back games against Chievo Verona and Genoa respectively. He quickly became undroppable and impossible to ignore.
A decent debut season would be followed by three very strong campaigns as he grew into one of the most dangerous wide players in Serie A. During this period, he scored 22 goals and assisted a further 19, impressing enough to earn himself his first international cap.
Chiesa finished as Fiorentina’s top scorer in both the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons and it became evident that he had become a big fish in a small pond. He had become impossible to ignore, this time for the European giants.
In swept Juventus to steal away Viola’s crown jewel. Chiesa signed on a two-year loan deal with an obligation to buy in a deal that could reach as high as €60 million (£54 million). He joined the Old Lady attack already littered with stars. It’s harder to be a big fish in a pond which is also home to Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala.
Once again, Chiesa would need to become too good to be ignored.
Getting sent off on his debut for a late challenge a terrible start. Generally, he struggled to establish himself in Turin for the first half of the season, scoring just two goals in all competitions before Christmas.
However, in the past seven months, Chiesa has turned his somewhat patchy form around and exploded into life. He scored twelve goals and recorded four assists in the second half of the season. His upturn of form was imperative to propelling Juventus to a finish within the Champions League places and winning the Coppa Italia, a feat which appeared doubtful at the season’s midpoint.
Chiesa was the standout performer on a series of occasions, most notably in the Champions League Round of Sixteen, scoring a brace to send the game to extra-time in the second leg against FC Porto. They would lose on away goals, but Chiesa had outshone his more reputable teammates.
Displaying composure and maturity beyond his years, Federico Chiesa helped his side win the Coppa Italia, just as his father had done in 1999.
Federico Chiesa has become the player to take games by the scruff of the neck and drag his side to victory. So, it is unsurprising he has done just that for his national team at the European Championships.
It is perhaps more surprising it took until the third group stage game, a meaningless bout against Wales, for Chiesa to start. He impressed, but not enough to disrupt the settled front three of Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile, and Domenico Berardi, that scored six goals in the opening two games.
With the front three stifled by Austria, Chiesa was called upon by Mancini. He rewarded his manager with a goal and has not been dropped since, replacing Berardi as the right forward. He has become impossible to ignore.
The system implemented under Mancini suits Chiesa’s direct movement and a constant eye for goal. Operating as an inside forward he is given the license to cut inside and run at defenders. One of Chiesa’s most gifted attributes is his ability with both feet, allowing him to take up any of the positions along the front line.
His goal against Austria was taken with his left foot and scoring from a tight angle. This was followed by a goal in the semi-final against Spain, this time with his right foot. He can produce with both power and accuracy, regardless of with which foot.
And on Sunday there he was running with pace, down the wings, and in the middle field with English defenders on his back, as he got off a wicked shot that England goalie Pickford makes a great save on. As Italy was struggling to find their way when they were 1-0 down it was Chiesa changing the game to their liking.
He is here to stay with Juventus and the Azzurri. The future is bright for both teams as Juventus starts the Serie A season in mid-August and the World Cup qualification in September.