Leonardo Bonucci has credited former Juventus manager Antonio Conte for instilling a winning mentality in him and what it meant to wear their fable black-and-white jersey.
The 32-year Italian central defender will be reacquainted with the former Bianconeri coach when the Italian champions visit league leaders Inter Milan on Sunday.
Bonucci and Conte: Five key things to know…
- Leonardo Bonucci has attributed former Juventus manager Antonio Conte for giving him a winning mentality.
- He made 112 appearances for Juve under Conte, registering six goals in the process.
- They’d win three consecutive Serie A championships together.
- Conte would leave for the Italian national team where he subsequently played Bonucci on no fewer than 24 occasions.
- Bonucci and Conte will be acquainted with Juve visit Inter Milan on October 6.
Conte, who enjoyed a decorated playing career with the Turin giants, returned to manage them 2011 and would get the ball rolling in their present era of domination.
Juve won three consecutive Serie A crowns with Conte at the helm prior to swapping them for the Italian national team job; his successor Massimiliano Allegri subsequently guided them to the last five Italian championships.
Part of Juve’s success has been their mean defence, which Bonucci was part of under Conte, he’d leave to enjoy a brief year at AC Milan – much to supporters’ chagrin – before returning last season.
Bonucci, who played 112 times for Conte at Juventus, feels the current Nerazzurri boss is the reason behind his never-say-die attitude.
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“What Conte gave me was hunger, the desire to never give in, the mentality that allows you to go beyond pain to reach your objectives,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“He drilled that into us from the first day. Conte was perfect for that Juventus: he needed a chance with a big club and we had to get back to being great after Calciopoli.
“We needed someone like him, who could make us understand what it meant to wear that jersey.
“After three top years together, our paths separated and we continued the growth process elsewhere, but maintained a relationship.”
Conte has so far overseen a perfect start on his return to Serie A, with Inter leading the table after six games. And Bonucci admits he is not surprise by the effect Conte is having at the San Siro.
“Inter started the season very well, which was indeed easy to foresee after the arrival of Conte,” he added.
They’re a great team, they have top players and their system allows everyone to express themselves in the best way.”