Recently, AC Milan stole the spotlight of the footballing world by completing the shock signing of Leonardo Bonucci, a mainstay in the Juventus team t
Recently, AC Milan stole the spotlight of the footballing world by completing the shock signing of Leonardo Bonucci, a mainstay in the Juventus team that accomplished a six-year scudetto run, and an icon of Juventus DNA.
AC Milan payed €42 million to secure the services of the intelligent defender, handing him a five-year contract which commits him to Milan until 2022, and doubles his salary. The Italian defender was arguably Juventus’ most important defender, and was under contract there until 2021.
Leonardo Bonucci is a complete modern defender, and will historically be considered one of the best defenders of his generation.
- The €42 million price-tag suggests that Bonucci and his agent pushed for the transfer.
- Within 48 hours of rumours surfacing of Milan and the player’s mutual interest being dismissed as paper talk, a deal had been all but completed. Had Juventus sold to an English or Spanish club with more resources, it’s not hard to imagine his price-tag doubling.
- His motivation for a Juventus departure may have came about after a rumored half-time spat with teammates, Dani Alves and Paulo Dybala—an event he denies—during the Champions League final. This, coupled with a damaged relationship with the Juventus manager after an argument in February—which saw him benched in an important Champions League knockout match against Porto—may have cemented both his and the club’s intentions to part ways.
- With his family’s desire to remain in Italy due to his son’s medical condition and Milan’s newfound wealth, it became an increasingly appealing destination, just 125km away from the Bonucci’s current home in Turin.
The move is somewhat of a risk for the player, as he joins an ambitious new project at Milan, which is yet to show a clear identity. He is leaving behind the safety and continuity he would have in Turin at Juventus, and sacrificing the exorbitant salary he would be offered by an English or Spanish club to embrace Milan’s new project. As an older and more experienced member of the squad, he can instantly become a leader and help instill a new winning mentality at the club, which has been sorely missed for at least 5 years. Milan will look to Bonucci to help develop and settle their younger and newer players, by acting as a leader and a positive influence both on and off the field.
What makes Bonucci one of the best defenders in the world?
A well-rounded defender, Bonucci has everything a manager would want from a defender in the modern age. He has a calming presence on the field, as he is always cool and collected and shows unwavering confidence when in possession of the ball. This allows him to find teammates successfully, take opponents on, complete tackles and interceptions, and finish his chances when they come to him. His cool head has allowed him to score many goals in big matches, including multiple spectacular goals from volleys against Serie A title rivals Roma and Napoli, as well as a crucial tying penalty against World Champions Germany in the 2016 Euro.
2. Attack from the back
While on the ball, Bonucci has the technical ability and confidence to skillfully take players on in his own half, when it is necessary to escape a dangerous situation. He also has the vision and intelligence to know when to drive forward and join the attack with the ball, or display his exceptional passing ability to pick his teammates out from both short and long range, with both feet. His consistent completion of passes out of the defensive third into his midfielders or attackers, regardless of the pressure he is under, makes him arguably the best ball-playing defender in the world.
3. Well timed challenges
On the other side of the ball, Bonucci is smart, quick on his feet, tall, strong, and most importantly, tactically adept. Not known for his aggression like his former Juventus counterpart Giorgio Chiellini, he has a knack for perfectly timing his challenges.
4. Anticipation of the opponent
With his vast game intelligence also comes his ability to read the play and timely intercept passes into the opposing attackers. He relies more on his intelligence and anticipation of the opposition than he does physical traits, evidenced by his record of only receiving 2 red cards in his 8-year Serie A career, which is more than respectable for a defender.
He wins his fair share of defensive headers and remains an aerial threat offensively, due to his size and stature.
Bonucci’s Role at Milan
Pep Guardiola, arguably the world’s best manager currently, has named Bonucci as possibly his favorite ever player, so it comes as no surprise that most top clubs and managers would jump at the chance of having him on their team.
He will be crucial to Milan this year, providing his new manager Vincenzo Montella with tactical variety and stability at the back. He brings the experience and knowledge of playing in both a 3 and 4-man defense to Milan, which will provide Montella with tactical options of playing either system. Montella employs a system which emphasizes passing out from the goalkeeper and center backs, and Bonucci has all the technical capabilities to fulfill this role as a center back.
Bonucci’s knowledge and experience in big games will be imperative in helping to develop many of Milan’s younger talents and settle them into the team, especially Alessio Romagnoli and Mateo Musacchio, who play along side him in defense. Bonucci will be assuming a leadership role at his new club, which has been sorely needed in recent years.
Bonucci is an excellent addition to Milan, who will contribute immensely both on and off the pitch. He will be monumental in the club’s resurgence after a disappointing 5 years, and will likely prove to be their most important signing of the summer, if not in the near future as well.
At 30 years old and still in his prime, he will now look to become a mainstay in this resurrected Milan team for years to come, with ambitions of a European triumph, a feat he was unable to achieve at Juventus. Milan fans will be ecstatic with their new signing, while the rest of Serie A will be envious of their ability to snatch such a prized player from a Juventus team who has dominated the league for 6 years. No one will be more bitter than Juventus fans, who will naturally be hoping for him to fail at Milan, and will inevitably jeer and taunt him when Juventus and Milan meet. Only time can tell if Bonucci’s ambitions of European success will be realized, and all of Europe will be watching after Italy was rocked by this blockbuster transfer.
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