Bonucci: Juventus had started to think we couldn’t win without Cristiano

Date: 29th September 2021 at 3:53pm
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Ronaldo achieved a lot at Juventus. He won the Serie A title twice, for which they were both heavily favoured as reported by, the Coppa Italia, and the Supercoppa Italiana as well. In 134 games for the club, he scored 101 times.

But the Portuguese left Turin this past summer, having tried to force an exit for much of the transfer window. Things went wrong for both Cristiano and Juventus during his time there, and defender Leonardo Bonucci has shed some light on what happened.

“This was the thing,” Bonucci told The Athletic. “The idea that one player, even the best in the world, could guarantee Juventus victory.

“Cristiano’s presence had a big influence on us. Just training with him gave us something extra but subconsciously players started to think his presence alone was enough to win games.

“We began to fall a little short in our daily work, the humility, the sacrifice, the desire to be there for your teammates day after day. Over the last few years, I think you could see that.”

Although Cristiano had his moments at Juventus and undoubtedly played his part, Bonucci believes that he needed his teammates as much as they needed him to succeed.

“Last season, we finished fourth and won the Coppa Italia because we became a team again,” Bonucci explained. “If you had thrown a piece of wood in the dressing room before those games it would have caught fire, such was the electricity running through it.

“We missed that. Maybe it was taken for granted that if we gave the ball to Cristiano, he’d win us the game.
“But Cristiano needed the team as much as we needed him. There had to be a trade-off because it’s the team that lifts the individual even if the individual is the best player on the planet.”

Guardiola dreams

At one time, Bonucci was considered to be the best defender in Europe and was linked with a move to Manchester City ahead of joining AC Milan in an ill-fated switch. That, though, wasn’t the only time the two came close to working together.

“I had this dream of being coached by Pep,” Bonucci said. “The closest we came was in 2016. I was on the brink of joining City. We were down to the very last details then Juventus decided not to sell. We decided to stay together.

“Then when I went to AC Milan I could have gone to City but several things had to fall into place for it to happen. I’d also given my word to Milan. Last year, I spoke to Pep again. He wanted me but I told him: ‘Juventus is my home. I’m happy here. I feel at home here’. I wanted to make up the ground I lost by going to Milan for a season. Becoming a symbol of Juventus again is the most exciting thing I could be doing in my career right now.”


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