Bonucci: ‘This is the strongest Juventus’

Leonardo Bonucci believes this is “the strongest Juventus” he’s played for, “and the one with the best character”.

The centre-back returned to the Bianconeri this summer, just a year after controversially leaving to join Milan.

Though he wasn’t exactly welcomed back, he has begun to win over the fans in Turin.

“It’s nice to receive the applause from the Curva, as happened after my goal on Saturday against Napoli,” Bonucci admitted in an interview with Corriere di Torino.

“I’ve always had the utmost respect for the fans. Obviously the past can’t just be erased, but I’ll give everything and more for Juventus.

“One day I hope to hear the Curva singing my name, as happened in the past.

“This is the strongest Juventus I’ve played for, and the one with the best character. The mentality in the approach to matches has changed. On paper at least they seem easier.

“We have more determination, ruthlessness and hunger. It’s a further step in our growth.

“There’s still a long way to go this season, everything seems simple now but it won’t always be that way.

“We’re awaiting December, which will be an important month for which we have to be ready mentally and physically.

“We need to put more gas in the tank to better manage the second half of the season, because between March and May we’ll be playing for everything.”

Bonucci is known for his long, diagonal passes and he provided a wonderful assist for Paulo Dybala on Tuesday.

“When something that difficult comes off it’s gratifying. I like to make complicated things easy, but sometimes I do the simplest things wrong, like I did against Napoli [with a misplaced pass for the first goal].

“It was a bit of a lack of focus, and I have to improve in that regard.”

The big news for Juve this week has been the departure of general manager Giuseppe Marotta, who signed the defender twice.

“For me personally, his departure certainly leaves a hole,” Bonucci confirmed.

“Those who made the decision will certainly have had their reasons, and I can only hope that the director will find a position that satisfies him in the future.”

Bonucci’s son, Lorenzo, could follow his father into the game, as he’s been enrolled in Torino’s football school.

“As you know, Lorenzo is a fan of ‘Gallo’ Belotti and he likes Torino. At the end of last season he had a trial with Torino and he liked it.

“Having reached the age of six, there was the chance to enrol him in a football school. I don’t see any issue with his choice, all that matters is that he has fun.

“And that he doesn’t suffer too much in his father’s shadow.”