Federico Chiesa is one of the most talented players in Italy. Fresh off his 22nd birthday, he’s the full package for a winger. He’s got unbelievable athleticism: pace, acceleration, agility, quickness, and stamina. He’s got the technique: dribbling past opponents, shooting with either foot, a deft first touch, the range to hit every pass. He’s got the desire: even in the 88th minute of a match that’s out of reach, he’s closing down defenders at a dead sprint, and he’s never met a cause he couldn’t chase. It’s no surprise that he’s front and center of Roberto Mancini’s hungry young Azzurri side.
The only criticism that anyone’s leveled at Chiesa at international level is the same one we hear detractors aim at him for Fiorentina, and it’s that he doesn’t provide the end product to match his ability. Before today, he’d made 16 appearances at the senior level and had yet to score, although he did have 3 assists. Rather than celebrating a guy who’d made the grade 16 times at such a young age, folks groused about his underperformance.
And it looks like Fede had enough of that as he spearheaded Italy’s 9-1 demolition of Armenia today. In just the 8th minute, he lofted a lovely cross to the back post for Ciro Immobile to rise up and head home.
After hitting the woodwork on either side of halftime, he whipped in a perfect cross for Riccardo Orsolini to head home.
And then, in the 81st minute, Orsolini returned the favor, floating a cross in for Fede, who rose well above everybody and redirected it just inside the back post.
You couldn’t ask for a more impressive display from the 22-year-old in the Italy shirt. For Fiorentina fans, the hope now is that he can bring that kind of form back into Serie A, where a few more moments of Fede-magic would go a long way towards papering over the holes in this team’s attack. For now, though, we’re just thrilled for Chiesa to get his inaugural strikes.