Leonardo Bonucci is back at Juventus just a year after making a sensational exit to a mid-table AC Milan side. Speaking at his presentation earlier today, the defender was at pains to explain that there was no issues with manager Massimiliano Allegri, something that was often cited as a cause for his departure.
“There are discussions that happen in the course of a football season. We saw each other more than once over the last year, both on and off the pitch. There was a way to clear things up, our relationship is really good and as intelligent people we embraced, as happened on many occasions.
“In London for the Top 11 awards I met the Coach and I dedicated that award to him, because I think I think I improved in my management of the game over the years we were together, and that was thanks to Allegri.
“These things happen, we look forward.”
Another relationship that soured was his rapport with the fans, what are his plans to mend that?
“At the end of a game I always go to thank my fans. My decision last year, which was a very emotional one, was a decision I took because I didn’t feel at ease.
“I knew that I wouldn’t be myself while feeling those emotions, so I decided to change. That change could have given me something more, but in the end it wasn’t so.
“When you leave your family, the house you’re in every day it’s hard. I took a step back and despite having other offers my choice was to return to Juventus.
“I accept the whistles from the fans. When they come from my opponents they fire me up, when they come from my fans it’ll be up to me to turn those whistles into applause.
“My answer will come on the pitch because I’m a professional. If I got an offer to leave Juventus again today I wouldn’t even think about it.
“I’ve digested things and thought about them, Juventus was everything for me as a football and a human being in all those years, I was going through situations off the pitch [Bonucci’s son had a serious illness] and Juventus always made me feel their support.
“We parted with a handshake, perhaps because I knew in my heart that what has happened could happen.
“Now I start a new challenge with an enthusiasm I didn’t have before, now I feel better and I want to recover everything and have the chance to test myself against the best every day.
“I’ll defend the Juventus shirt like I did in previous years, nothing but winning exists.”
The fans were particularly unimpressed by his celebrations scoring for the Rossoneri at Juventus Stadium last season.
“I don’t get the chance to score that often!
“I’ve sometimes criticised players when I see them not celebrating, at that moment you’re playing for the shirt you’re wearing. I hope I can give the fans a lot of joyous celebrations.”
What made up his mind about returning to the Bianconeri?
“There was no precise date, there was a moment when everyone agreed on this transfer. Milan made their evaluations, Juventus made theirs and I made mine because I wanted to win. We all agreed to do this deal.
“My agent has a lot of players here, there was a chat with the directors and then this opportunity arose.
“Milan accepted, even if at first they wanted to sell me abroad, but my priority was Juventus. We’re all happy and content.
“My farewell? I didn’t feel good in myself and didn’t feel I could be up to the level of Juventus, so I preferred to make the choice I did. Luckily we’re all here now.”