Leonardo Bonucci says he still hopes to return to Juventus one day, albeit as a coach and after the current management has left. The 35-year-old gave a lengthy interview to Sportmediaset to share his side of recent events at Juventus, which culminated with his departure from the club to join Union Berlin. Speaking about the situation, the former Juve captain said he wants to continue being part of the Italian national team and revealed he hopes to return to Turin as a coach one day:
“I have read and heard things that are not true said by the club and the coach. It’s untrue that in October I was told I wanted to break off the relationship at the end of the season, in fact I was even offered a renewal. Then the coach summoned me to his office in March, telling me that it would be a good idea to retire early. But I told him that I didn’t want to stop until the 2024 European Championship. So I didn’t speak to anyone again until the end of May, when I gave my availability to be the fifth-sixth choice in defence, to act as a reserve. The club informed me that I would start behind Gatti, Bremer, Danilo and a youngster from the NextGen and I accepted without any problems.”
“Everything changed in the summer. I only got wind of something by reading about it in the newspapers until Giuntoli and Manna informed me on 13 July that I would no longer be part of the Juventus squad and that my presence on the pitch would hinder the team’s growth. This was the humiliation I suffered after 500 and more games in bianconero. I felt drained of everything, humiliated, I couldn’t do what I love most. Cause? It’s not a question of money, in fact I’d be ready to donate everything to charity, but my rights stipulated that I would have to train with the team regardless of the technical choice.”
“This is the second time I have been forced to leave Juventus, in both cases because of the stance of an individual, which is not me. What is there for all to see is that I never had the relationship I wanted with the coach. This was not only my fault, because I often took positions for the good of the team and my teammates. So there was a short circuit that did not allow me to end my career as I would have liked. I was made to smile by Pirlo, who told me that maybe it could happen like it did to him: to go on winning somewhere else after they say you’re finished.
“I appreciated the solidarity of so many players, current and not only, from Juventus and also from other clubs. They all showed me their closeness for the disrespectful behaviour of the club’.
“I want to keep playing for the national team. His phone call to tell me that he would not call me up for these last games was a gesture that I really appreciated and that shows his human depth. Since I didn’t have a proper preparation, it was right that he didn’t call me up for the Azzurri. I expected it, I’m no fool. But I feel the national team jersey on my skin like the Juventus one. I’ll do everything I can to wear it.”
“When I decide to start coaching, I have my path well in mind. The Juventus of today, I don’t feel it’s mine. However, when I will be a coach, and maybe Juve will not be the one of today, I hope there will be a way to re-embrace the fans.”