Football News

Leonardo Bonucci responds to Allegri’s “joke” that he will never be captain of Juventus after he left for Milan

By Ben Green

Published: 17:33, 10 August 2021 | Updated: 14:26, 21 September 2022

Juventus stalwart Leonardo Bonucci has reacted to comments made by new manager Massimiliano Allegri that he will not be his captain this forthcoming campaign because he left for AC Milan in 2017.

Bonucci, 34, donned the armband in Turin on multiple occasions last season in the absence of an injury-ravaged Giorgio Chiellini, but he will not be the permanent skipper this term Allegri confirmed in his opening press conference.

The Italian coach, who succeeded Andrea Pirlo in the dugout after rejecting an offer to manage Real Madrid, has returned to northern Italy two years after he stepped down from his initial stint, in which he delivered five Serie A titles in five seasons.

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During that period, Bonucci made a shock £35m move to Milan in 2017 and was immediately handed the armband by Vincenzo Montella, but the Euro 2020 winner last just one season at the San Siro before returning to Turin.

However, that 12-month stint has not been forgotten by Allegri, who quipped that Bonucci will not captain Juventus for his maiden campaign back in the hotseat as he “left Juventus and then returned, so he has to start from scratch”.

He stated: “The captain and vice-captain are decided depending on how long they’ve been playing in the team. So Chiellini is the most experienced one, followed by Dybala.

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“Bonucci left for one season, he made that decision, so if he wants the captain’s armband he must buy it and play with it in the street. Leo is aware of that.

“In my last season at Juventus, Mario Mandzukic and Sami Khedira wore the captain’s armband, because Leo had fallen behind in the pecking order.”

The 34-year-old has since responded, believing Allegri’s tongue-in-cheek assessment was made to ‘dampen any tensions’ between the duo.

“Many have judged and insulted me without knowing,” Bonucci told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “But I always give my best on the pitch.

“I always made the pitch do my talking. The coach made a joke to dampen the tension.

“Time passes with chatter. Captain or not, I know what I must do inside the dressing room and on the pitch.

“I’m 34 years old and have a mind to understand that it could be a way to stimulate and revitalise me for the new season.”