Juventus centre-back Leonardo Bonucci wants to ‘go back to the pre-CR7 spirit’ and revealed he ‘could have gone’ to Zenit St Petersburg 10 years ago.
The Bianconeri veteran spoke to Amazon Prime Italy ahead of the match against Zenit in the Champions League on Wednesday.
He was asked about Cristiano Ronaldo’s decision to leave the Allianz Stadium this summer and stressed the Old Lady must ‘rediscover the spirit’ that was at the club before the Portuguese arrived.
“Ronaldo made a choice that we respected,” Bonucci said. “Las year the team played for him, now the group must rediscover that Juve spirit that was there before his arrival.”
Bonucci said the Bianconeri must ‘rediscover the taste for fatigue’ which existed during coach Massimiliano Allegri’s first stint.
Bonucci spoke about the time with Allegri in Turin, which he describes as an honest relationship, and spoke about the stool incident at Porto.
“The Porto-Juve stool was my fault,” Bonucci added. “I tend to live the game with great passion, and I didn’t want to be in the armchairs, so I stop up and then I sat on a stool in the lounge.
“I’m happy that episode took place, because it only cemented my relationship with Allegri.”
The Italy international said he could have joined Zenit a decade ago, but then decided to ‘listen to my pride’.
“I could have gone to Zenit 10 years ago,” he continued. “[Former coach Antonio] Conte told me that I was the last in the pecking order of defenders and that I could find another accommodation.
“We entered talks with Zenit, but I listened to my pride and decided to stay.”
Bonucci has since played in two Champions League Finals and won everything domestically with Juventus.
He helped Italy win the European Championship this summer and aims to help Juventus go all the way in Europe this term.
“Of the two Champions League Finals, I would replay the one in Cardiff,” he said. “Against Barcelona, we had nothing to lose and faced a team of Martians.
“With real, after an excellent first half, the tension dropped. I hope to have the opportunity to play in a third final in these last years of my career.”
— Gianluca Di Marzio (@DiMarzio) October 19, 2021