Mauro Icardi
MILAN, ITALY - DECEMBER 11: Mauro Emanuel Icardi of FC Internazionale celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between FC Internazionale and PSV at San Siro Stadium on December 11, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini has faced off against numerous amounts of world-class strikers across his playing career and rates Mauro Icardi as one of the best

The Inter Milan star is one of the most highly-regarded forwards in European football right now and has been frequently linked with a move to Real Madrid.

In total, Icardi has scored 119 goals in 200 appearances for Inter and has found the net against Juventus eight times since arriving at Italy in 2011.

And Chiellini has nothing but respect for Icardi, who he rates as the most deadliest striker in the penalty area behind team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.

“In my opinion, Icardi is the second best striker in the penalty box who I’ve ever marked,” Chiellini told DAZN, via Football-Italia.

“He chips away at you mentally, in the sense that you have to be concentrated all the time. I’ve only encountered one who is worse for that, but he’s playing with me this year!”

The Italian defender then gave his take on the downside of Juventus’ campaign this season.

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Massimiliano Allegri’s side finished top of Group H in the Champions League on Wednesday night, despite losing 2-1 to BSC Young Boys in their final game, and already lead the Serie A by eight points from nearest challengers Napoli.

But Chiellini highlighted October’s 1-1 home draw with Genoa and their 2-1 defeat to Manchester United last month as low points in their season.

“There are some, like that draw we had with Genoa. Those were definitely two points dropped, and with all due respect for Genoa we can’t afford to drop points to them at home,” said Chiellini.

“We’ve also been at 1-0 close to the end too many times. It’s almost always been fine because of our attitude, but against Manchester United we paid for it with interest.

“I’d say 1-0 is a perfect result up until about 60 minutes, then you need to get the second and manage things better.

“Not conceding gives you confidence for the next games, but having a little cushion means you expend less physical and mental energy.”