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Leonardo Bonucci’s romantic return to Juventus is not going to plan

An impregnable Italian rock just a couple of years ago, his controversial move to AC Milan seems to have been his undoing

Time moves fast in the footballing landscape.

It wasn’t long ago when Leonardo Bonucci – aka Bonnibauer – was regarded as the finest centre back on the planet.

One third of Juventus’ impregnable BBC centre-back trio, Bonucci combined all round excellence with imperious leadership skills.


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Exasperated

AFP
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Exasperated

But Bonucci is now a pale imitation of that defensive rock.

Whether his bizarre single season at AC Milan has undone the reputation he built in seven years at Juventus is up for debate, but the decision to leave Turin still looks strange.

He is, of course, back at Juve now… but Old Lady fans aren’t seeing the same calibre of player they had before he departed.

Star-studded lineup

Getty - Contributor
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Star-studded lineup

Serie A is typically a walk in the park for Juve and, after adding Cristiano Ronaldo to their setup in the summer, this season is not proving any different.

But Bonucci is struggling, a constant thorn in the Italian giants’ side, and has been at fault for a massive five of the six goals Juve have conceded this season already.

Mostly positioning faults, the 31-year-old looks short on confidence and hits the panic button when crosses are delivered.

Mehdi Benatia is regularly having to bail him out and looks the more experienced player alongside his elder statesman.

Mistakes are creeping in

Reuters
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Mistakes are creeping in

So can Man United capitalise in the Champions League this week?

It’s a strange phenomenon to pick Bonucci out as the weakest link from a crowded starting line up, but that’s the current state of affairs.

If United harbour any ambitions of making Ronaldo’s eagerly anticipated return to Old Trafford a quiet one, they should target him.


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