Ekdal ready to face Chiellini

Sweden midfielder Albin Ekdal reminisced about his time with Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at Juventus ahead of their Euro 2016 clash on Friday.

Ekdal insists Chiellini is one of the best people you will ever meet off the field, but warned that he can be unpleasant on the field of play, after the duo spent two years together at Juve from 2008 to 2010.

"Chiellini treated me, maybe not as a little brother but like a youth-team player. He drove me to training when I didn't have a driving licence and so on," Ekdal told Expressen in the build-up to the Group E encounter at Stadium Municipal in Toulouse.

"On the pitch he can be a swine, though. He knows that himself but then everyone wants a player like that.

"We will have to try to wind him up but he is not an unwise swine. He doesn't do much off the ball but he likes to play-act and influence the referees. It's classic Italian stuff. I guess we will have to try to do the same."

Ekdal, who now plays for Hamburg, also heaped praise on Azzurri goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon for his leadership and exemplary conduct.

"He is an incredible guy. He is kind and looks after young players all the time. I have only fond memories of him," the 26-year-old added.

"He is the leader for this Italian team and is incredibly admired, not only in Italy but around the world. He spreads love and gets this team going. I think he is incredibly important for Italy."

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