Giorgio Chiellini turns on LA Galaxy star for Lionel Messi-esque celebration

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Giorgio Chiellini showed his disapproval of Riqui Puig’s goal celebration after LA Galaxy beat city rivals LA FC 2-0 on Tuesday evening. Former Barcelona midfielder Puig scored Galaxy’s second goal in a 2-0 win over their neighbours after slaloming past three defenders to complete a magnificent solo effort that effectively sealed the win.

The 23-year-old wheeled away with delight, followed by his teammates, before taking off his shirt and holding it up to the presumably unimpressed Galaxy home fans.

The goal celebration routine was an imitation of Lionel Messi’s injury-time winner for Barcelona against Real Madrid in 2017 when the Argentina legend enraged the Santiago Bernabeu by holding up his shirt in front of the stunned Madrid fans after securing a dramatic 3-2 La Liga win for the Catalan giants.

But in the relatively more modest setting of the BMO Stadium in Los Angles, former European Championship winner Chiellini was left unimpressed by Puig’s theatrics and let him know about it after the final whistle.

While 23-year-old Spaniard Puig was being interviewed outside the changing rooms after the match, LA FC defender Chiellini walked past the media gathering and shouted “payaso” at Puig, which is Spanish for “clown”.

There is little loved lost between the two LA clubs, but it is LA FC who have had the upper hand of late. Steve Cherundolo’s side is currently top of the MLS Western Conference, with Galaxy rooted to the bottom.

But with LA FC fielding a much-changed side that didn’t include Chiellini in their US Open Cup last-16 fixture, it was Galaxy who prevailed on the night 2-0. Puig’s stunning solo effort atoned for a missed penalty by the same player earlier in the match.

After a decorated career in Italy, Chiellini move to the MLS in 2022, where the 38-year-old is now winding down his career. But that is in stark contrast to Puig, who moved to US Soccer league from the Nou Camp when he was just 22. The unusual move could be attributed to Barcelona’s well document financial difficulties.

Puig left Barca on the expiry of his contract but his former club retains the option to resign him and will earn 50 per cent from any future sale.

Before moving to the US, Chiellini spent his entire career in Italy, making 561 appearances for Juventus over 17 seasons, where he won nine Serie A titles.

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