The Maldinis, the Vieris, the Abates – a selection of Italian footballing families where son has followed in the footsteps of father by going on to ply his trade in Serie A. This season, another celebrated Italian family name was added to that list when Federico Chiesa, the son of former Italy striker Enrico, made his debut for Fiorentina.
Chiesa’s first competitive start for Paulo Sousa’s side came against none other than reigning champions Juventus on the first day of the Serie A season in August 2016. A place in the starting XI came as a very pleasant surprise to the teenager, not even having time to call Chiesa Sr for a pre-game pep-talk ahead of that first senior start.
“My father has been very influential on my career so far, he’s given me the right advice at the right moments. The coach told me just an hour before the game that I was going to play [against Juventus], so I didn’t have the chance to talk with him before making my debut,” Chiesa told FIFA.com.
“It was an amazing sensation to debut for Fiorentina against the all-time rivals of Juventus,” he added. “I’m enjoying playing every single match, it was my dream since I was I kid to compete against the best clubs and best players in Italy.”
Born in Genoa, Chiesa started playing with U.S. Settignanese before joining Fiorentina, a former club of his father’s, in 2007. It was at the Settignano-based youth side where Chiesa learned from none other than 1958 World Cup star Kurt Hamrin, where the 1969 European Cup winner served as a coach.
“I remember very little of my experience with Kurt Hamrin,” said Chiesa of the Sweden and Fiorentina legend. “I was six and, at the time, I didn’t know who this person was and what he did for football. But looking at it from today’s perspective, it was an honour to be coached by him.”
Wearing the No25 shirt – the same as his father, Chiesa has established himself as a key player in his debut season with Fiorentina, with coach Sousa commenting that the teenager “plays with the joy of a child”. While the exciting talent has been making a name for himself in Italy this season, the Viola young-gun hopes to feature for the Azzurrini at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic in May.
Some of the biggest names in world football today – including Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Paul Pogba – all made a significant impact during their time at the U-20 World Cup, and would all go on to kick-start their respective senior international career afterwards.
“Of course, I hope to feature in the U-20 World Cup with Italy,” said Chiesa. “Players who have made their mark on international football at senior level have played in this competition before. For me, it will be a great honour and an amazing experience.”
While Italy boast four world titles at senior level, Azzurrini have never progressed beyond the quarter-final stage at the U-20 World Cup. 2017 marks the first time in four editions that the Italians have reached the global showpiece and Chiesa says they are travelling to Korea Republic this year with big ambitions: “We’re going to Korea Republic to win the U-20 World Cup,” the 19-year-old said.
The Azzurrini are lead by former Italy midfielder Alberigo Evani, a FIFA World Cup™ runner-up at USA 1994 and two-time European Cup winner with AC Milan, who is tasked with guiding the next crop of Italian talent at Korea Republic 2017. “Alberigo Evani is a great coach,” said Chiesa. “He played a lot of games at international level and has enough experience to help Italy win the [U-20] World Cup.”
Story by www.fifa.com