There was a point early in the 2021 calendar year when the contract extensions started to roll out for some of Juventus Women’s most important players. Cristiana Girelli signed on for another season. So did Martina Rosucci, Cecilia Salvai and Linda Sembrant. Even manager Rita Guarino was in on the fun, with Juve locking in their title-winning coach for another season.
The most notable player not to have signed a contract extension as we sit here in the middle of the spring: Barbara Bonansea.
And there is looking like a good reason why a deal hasn’t been struck just yet.
Bonansea has changed representation, and it just so happens to be arguably the most powerful agent in the history of the sport in Mino Raiola. With that change, Bonansea becomes the first female footballer to be represented by Raiola, who also is the agent for a handful of men’s players on Juventus’ payroll. This move to Raiola has spurred up some rumors about just what Bonansea’s future might be at Juventus, with reports of interest from Lyon — a club that has tried to sign her in years past prior to making her way to Turin when Juve’s women’s team was started — coming out courtesy of La Gazzetta dello Sport just as she enters the final couple of months of her current contract.
The thinking of La Gazzetta dello Sport — as well as anybody else who is familiar with what Raiola does — is that with greater representation comes to desire on Bonansea’s end to explore her options in Europe and potentially try and go abroad while she’s still in her prime. Bonansea turns 30 in the middle of June, and the chance to potentially play for a club at the level of Lyon is not going to come very many times going forward. As much as the women’s team at Juventus has dominated domestically over the last four years, Lyon is already there; they’re the cream of the crop in Europe even though their run of five straight Women’s Champions League titles is going to come to an end. (And one has to wonder how much the lingering professionalism status of female footballers in Italy still prevents the country’s best players from earning the kind of money that they are truly worth might play into this, too.)
Recently, Stefano Braghin, the man in charge of constructing the Juventus Women roster, spoke about Bonansea’s contract situation, saying: “It is a topic that we have decided to tackle with great serenity, there is no urgency and emergency.”
But as some of her current teammates continue to extend their stay with the Bianconere for another season, Bonansea’s name isn’t on that list that everybody is hoping she will be on before June arrives. But when still haven’t signed a contract extension, you’re getting interest from one of the very best clubs around AND you’ve got an agent known for moving his clients to big clubs — albeit in the men’s game — it’s only going to be natural that these types of rumors suddenly appear.