Stellars Club

Enrico and Federico Chiesa: Legacy of the Family Goal

“Ehe boy will undoubtedly become a great player. I’ve watched him play in his backyard since he was a child. It’s amazing, he has exactly the same movements as his father.“. A phrase that was uttered more than ten years ago. A prophecy that would come true. It was Hernan Crespo, the legendary Argentinian striker, who said it in 2010 and who he was referring to was Federico Chiesa, son of his team-mate and friend at Parma, Enrico Chiesa. A fantastic saga of strikers and a father and son dynasty that is making history in Europe.

We have already talked about the most important family sagas in the history of football in STELLARS: Schmeichel’s goalkeeping legacy and the family who have left the Maldini family in Milan. Today we bring you a new installment of one of the most interesting legacies in football today: the saga of the Chiesa strikers where father and son share passion, position and approach to football. The Chiesas, Italy’s unstoppable strikers.

And it is that football is sometimes very capricious. Every football player expresses himself in a different way on the pitch and, even if they are family like the Maldini’s were, each of them ended up playing in a different way or in different positions. The Chiesas are the exception. Father and son represent a very specific type of striker: electric, unpredictable, hard-working, versatile and above all, with an incredible ability to score goals from different attacking positions. Scoring identical goals that are now history.

In Italy there are two very famous football families, the aforementioned Maldini, and the Mazzola family (Valentino and Sandro) to whom the Chiesa family can look in the mirror. Football tends to be very unfair, rather its history, and there is always a tendency to remember one over the other. This “battle” was won by Paolo and Sandro, the two sons. And it seems that the story will continue and Enrico will go from being known as “Chiesa” to being the father of Federico, who at the age of 23 is already a European champion as a capital player for the Azzurri. A shirt that his father also wore.

It was at Euro 2020, where Federico Chiesa was crowned champion, that one of the most remarkable events in the history of European football took place: the Chiesas became the first father and son to score at the tournament. Enrico did it at Euro 96 with a great goal against Czech Republic in Liverpool. Federico in extra time against Austria to qualify Italy for the quarter-finals and then to eliminate Spain in the semi-finals with a goal that is now Italian national team history.

And it is not just at the European Championship that the Chiesas have made history: they are one of the few father-and-son sagas to have scored at the continental showpiece. And, in addition, they are the only ones in European competition (in Champions League in the case of Federico and in UEFA in the case of his father) to score a brace. A saga of records that at the unstoppable pace that Federico’s career is going, as much as when he drives the ball, is going to get bigger.

A saga with Florence in its heart

Enrico exploded at an older age than his son. After a few seasons with Sampdoria in Serie A, where he never found consistency, he moved around Serie B and C teams until Cremonese gave him a new opportunity in Serie A, which he was able to take advantage of. He scored 14 goals in aseason there, prompting Samp to turn their attention back to him. At Genoa, he formed a great partnership with Roberto Mancini, the current Italy coach and his son’s current coach at the Azzurri, and scored 22 goals in that campaign. Enrico was already a reality and Parma, one of the top teams in the Seria A signed him. That Parma team was a real team: Buffon in goal, with two central defenders like Cannavaro and Thuram, in the middle with Dino Baggio and the “Brujita” Veron. And up top… up top was one of the most fearsome forwards in Serie A: Hernan Crespo and Enrico Chiesa.

At Parma, Chiesa won the Uefa Cup and the Coppa d’Italia, as well as a runners-up spot in Serie A. There he would become one of Italy’s most fearsome strikers. And there began his ordeal with injuries that would take its toll throughout his career. Injuries cut short a seemingly meteoric trajectory, but Enrico struggled to maintain it. After three great seasons at Parma, he signed for Fiorentina. In a Fiore where he would be reunited with one of the best strikers of the moment: Gabriel Omar Batistuta.

In Florence he left great moments, a good amount of goals and a title: the Coppa d’Italia, but perhaps the most important thing he left was his legacy: the greatest gift of his life, his son Federico. He was born while Enrico was playing for Parma in Genoa, but he made his life in Florence and started his career as a footballer. Enrico retired after 22 seasons at the highest level and 171 goals, 138 of which came in his country’s top flight, making him one of the top scorers in Serie A history. Injuries cut short a career that seemed destined for the greatest of glories but his son Federico picked up where Enrico left off.

We have already mentioned the parallels in the playing style of the Chiesas and Enrico Chiesa was, like his son, considered one of Italy’s most exciting and dynamic strikers in the mid-1990s. Fast, strong, hard-working and elegant. His great technique when driving the ball at high speeds allowed him to excel in those counter-attacks that we have seen his son do so many times. He played mainly as a second striker but appeared on all fronts of the attack thanks to his tactical intelligence. He knew how to show up where he could do the most damage to the opponent. Opportunist with an excellent ability to shoot on goal and a great free-kick taker (he scored 13 goals from direct free-kicks in Serie A). These virtues made him the most fashionable striker in Italian football. Since his talent was joined by that ability to sacrifice that lifts the fans out of their seats.

Qualities inherited by his son Chiesa. We must remember Hernán Crespo’s phrase with which we started the article“He’s incredible, he has exactly the same movements as his father“. And it is that Federico is a copy of his father’s way of playing. But not to his career, Federico has had a much earlier explosion and is called to mark a history in his country becoming already one of the maximum references of the Italian team champions of Europe. Something that his father was unable to accomplish probably due to the number of injuries he suffered.

Federico began his career as we have already mentioned in Florence. Already at the age of nine he entered the Viola youth academy and began to stand out with the purple shirt of Fiorentina. International in all the lower categories of Italy but in the Fiorentina youth academy he never exploded. It seemed that his potential was shackled. For many seasons he wasn’t a regular starter, and it wasn’t until he reached the youth team of the Fiore and the system was changed positioning him on the left wing that we started to see the best Chiesa. Already in that position Chiesa began to demonstrate and began to see the enormous potential of Enrico’s son. A potential that was latent and he threw off the shackles from that position on the left side.

From there, Chiesa began a meteoric rise to stardom. He made his debut at the age of 18 with Fiorentina. And he soon earned himself a place in the Viola starting eleven. Playing against the great Italian hope of the moment Federico Bernardeschi, together they made a winning Fiore. Bernardeschi left for Juventus, years later he would be followed by Chiesa himself, but after that in Fiorentina a trident with history was created: Gio Simeone, Gianis Hagi and our beloved Federico Chiesa formed up top. The sons of Enrico Chiesa, Cholo Simeone and Gica Hagi were to be starting for the same club. Cheeky, young and talented. And in that trident the one who stood out was Chiesa who ended up exploding completely. He abandoned the lime of the left flank to, like his father, move and appear all over the front and accepted the responsibility of the Viola attack becoming its maximum referent. Federico took on his father’s legacy and enhanced it.

From Fiore he made the leap to Juventus on loan. And in Turin, he once again took a leap in level after a hesitant start but after, his great tournament at Euro 2020, has become the Italian top hope unseating his former teammate at Fiore and current Juventus teammate Bernardeschi. Now Chiesa, at 23, has become one of the best players in the world and surely one of the most exciting strikers to watch at the moment. As was his father.

A legacy, that of the Chiesa family, linked by a thread in the history of a legendary Italian player: Gigi Buffon, who would coincide with both of them at different stages of his life and with both of them he would win the same title: the Coppa d’Italia. With Enrico in that legendary Parma. With Chiesa at today’s all-powerful Juventus. Buffon could only resign himself to the passage of time and continue to experience in training or in matches what it’s like to suffer a striker like Chiesa: when you want to realize you’ve already scored a goal.

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