Chiellini: I will be ready for the EUROs
Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini is confident he will be fit in time for the start of UEFA EURO 2012. The Italy international sustained a right thigh strain in Juve's final game of the Serie A season on 13 May and was ruled out for 20 days.
Chiellini will miss two friendlies against Luxembourg on 29 May and Russia on 1 June but hopes to return to action for the start of EURO 2012. "I will be ready at the right time," Chiellini said to Corriere dello Sport. "If I don't take part in the two friendly games prior to the tournament then it will be as a precautionary measure. I want to be ready to take on Spain on 10 June and I will be."
The 27-year-old missed just four league games this season and was key in helping champions Juve finish with the best defensive record in the division with only 20 goals conceded in 38 games. Italy begin their EURO 2012 campaign against world and European champions Spain before taking on Group C rivals Croatia on 14 June and the Republic of Ireland on 18 June.
Chiellini was included in Italy coach Cesare Prandelli's preliminary squad for this summer's tournament in Poland and Ukraine. However, Prandelli has issued a warning to all of his players that only the fittest will make the final cut.
Gli Azzurri tactician is set to announce his final 23-man squad on 28 May. "We have been very clear with all the players," Prandelli said. "We cannot allow to take players that are not 100 per cent fit because we don't have the time for them to recover."