Chiellini misses out for Italy

19 March 2018 11:06:03 EST

Veteran central defender Giorgio Chiellini will miss Italy's upcoming friendly internationals against Argentina and England due to a thigh injury.

The 33-year-old was forced off late on in Juventus' goalless draw at SPAL at the weekend and has returned to his club for treatment, rather than staying with the Azzurri for their high-profile double-header.

A short statement from Juve confirmed: "Having undergone medical tests, Giorgio Chiellini has withdrawn from Italy's upcoming international friendlies against Argentina and England after reporting a niggling injury to the flexor muscles in his right thigh during Saturday's match away to SPAL.

"The Bianconeri defender has therefore returned to Turin, where his condition will be monitored."

West Ham stopper Angelo Ogbonna has been called up to replace Chiellini, who remains four appearances shy of completing a century for Italy.

Meanwhile, veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has defended his call-up to the Azzurri squad, with his international career having appeared to be over after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup finals.

He told the Italian media: "I've joined the national team because I'm a coherent man, with a great sense of responsibility and these two things alone are enough to explain my presence.

"I'd like that my presence in the squad was seen in the light of the cohesive element I've always been for the national team."

Buffon has won 175 caps to date, helping Italy win the 2006 World Cup and reach the European Championship final six years later.

Italy are priced at 16/1 to triumph at Euro 2020, with Germany available at 8/1 and Belgium 7/1.

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