Leonardo Bonucci is one of the hardest men in football.Fact.
The Italian proved it in last night’s World Cup qualifying play-off first leg defeat against Sweden.
The classy Milan defender was left with a broken nose after just 30 seconds after a wayward elbow from Ola Toivonen connected with his face.
Bonucci showed his mettle by continuing to play the rest of the match but could not prevent his side going down 1-0 to the Swedes.
Jakob Johansson stepped up to fill the Zlatan-shaped hole when his deflected shot in the 60th minute wrong footed Gigi Buffon and gave the men in yellow a crucial lead to take into the second leg.
Italy’s on-form strike force of Andrea Belotti and Ciro Immobile, who is setting Serie A alight this season with 14 goals in 11 games, could not break the Victor Lindelof-led Swedish backline.
(Mourinho are you watching?)
However, let’s get back to the fact Bonucci played a whole game of football with his nose out of joint.
The Italian human brick wall was understandably not on his best form last night and even with former Juventus teammates Giorgio Chiellini (possibly the strongest nose in football) and Andrea Barzagli, he couldn’t stop Italy looking down the barrel of missing a first World Cup since 1958.
Gian Piero Ventura needs to work some magic in the return leg as we can all agree the World Cup will be worse off without Italy in it.
That’s the second saddest news for Italian fans this week after Pirlo announced his retirement from football.
Chins up, lads.