Was it early mind games or was he simply having a bit of fun out there?
I guess we’ll never truly know.
One thing is for certain though and it’s that Giorgio Chiellini’s pre-penalty shootout antics were a joy to watch.
Just minutes before his side were about to take on Spain in a do-or-die penalty shootout for a spot in the Euro 2020 final, the Italy captain couldn’t look any more calm and composed.
Granted, he probably knew he wasn’t one of the five initial penalty-takers for the Azzurri – but that doesn’t matter, he still would’ve had to step up to the plate if it went to sudden death.
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) July 6, 2021
During the coin flip to decide which end the shootout would take place, Chiellini and Spanish skipper Jordi Alba reflected two very contrasting characters.
Alba, with his eyes fixated on the referee and barely breaking a smile, looked pretty serious during the entire exchange.
Chiellini is just a boss. a total boss. During the coin toss ahead of the shoot out, he slapped his opponent twice on the face while grinning, then lifting him up in the air. A 36-year old who still loves the game of football with as much passion as when he was a tiny kid
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) July 6, 2021
As for Chiellini, he was having the time of his life, prodding his opposite number and cracking jokes with the officials.
Grinning from ear to ear, Chiellini even gave Alba a cheeky slap round the chops after eventually winning the coin toss.
And as they went to shake hands before returning to their team huddles, the towering Italian pulled Alba in for a massive hug and cheered loudly in his ear.
Their exchange instantly went viral online, of course, with football fans from around the globe in awe of Chiellini’s hilarious antics.
Chiellini is so funny. 😂😭pic.twitter.com/it2BUbBc5r
— Mu. (@ElBichu7) July 6, 2021
I thought Chiellini laughing and joking his way through the penalty shootout coin flip was cold-blooded enough, but Jorginho hitting the hop-step penalty and stroking the calm low roller to the right side without breaking a sweat was even MORE cold-blooded.
— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) July 6, 2021
— Joshie (@Joshiee48) July 6, 2021
Chiellini when he found out Spain put Morata as one of the penalty takers pic.twitter.com/YsQzsgSRsF
— Troll Football (@TrollFootball) July 6, 2021
imagine being on a dance floor near chiellini when mr brightside comes on pic.twitter.com/g4HWnPJUjy
— Jonno Turner (@jonnot) July 6, 2021
He who does not love Chiellini does not love life 🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/3KTuz0ajWW
— Jonny McFarlane (@jonnyrmcfarlane) July 6, 2021
If you look back at the resumes of the two captains, it’s hard to see where they’ve actually played together and whether they were already friends.
Bar the odd Champions League clash, they’ve barely come into contact with each other throughout their decorated careers which makes this latest interaction all the more brilliant.
Despite barely knowing the bloke, Chiellini is just so comfortable in ripping into him ahead of such a huge moment in the tournament.
Gotta love it when you see a player still loving the game as if they were a 6-year-old – not 36.
— Goal (@goal) July 6, 2021
Featured Image Credit: Optus Sport / PA