Bonucci and Chiellini talk to Spanish newspapers


Both centre-backs spoke to Spanish newspapers today, Leonardo Bonucci to AS and Giorgio Chiellini to Marca. Here are the highlights and the new stuff revealed in the interviews, starting with Bonucci: “Being able to stay with my family was one of the reasons why I decided to return to Juventus, I did not see my son Lorenzo very often last year, now he is happier. Unfortunately, he still cheers for Torino: he wavered after the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, but he has enrolled in their youth academy. Matteo’s five-month sickness in 2016 was very tough, but it made me realize that I can live without football, but not without my family. Everything is fine now fortunately.”

“Real Madrid were after me this summer: it was an honour and a pleasure to be one of their targets, it means that I have worked well in these past few years. Juventus’ call and the desire to feel at home again convinced me to follow my heart and decide that the black-and-white was a better fit.”

On his teammates: “I have fun with Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini, we complement each other and bring out our strong suits. I would rather not face Gianluigi Buffon, he is the best goalkeeper but also a great friend. I have basically grown up with him and it is strange to look behind my back and not see him. But we have Wojciech Szczesny now, who is one of the best around, and Mattia Perin who is improving a lot. I certainly think that Paulo Dybala is more mature now, he is not worried for scoring fewer goals, he works a lot for his teammate and that is important.”

“Winning the title is not as easy as it looks, the level of Italian football has gotten better. There was a time where Juventus were way superior and when you faced Napoli, Inter or Milan you felt like you would win without breaking a sweat, but that is no longer the case.”

On Cristiano Ronaldo: “I was not very happy when he joined, since I was still a rival. When he moves to your team, it means that the bar has raised. I appreciate his constancy and his simplicity. He is always working out before and after practice. He is a machine. He is admirable and he deserved the Balloon d’Or, but I think this will serve as a big motivation to bring home the next one.”

“Atletico Madrid are very organized, they do not let you breathe, but we want to reach the final and so we have to overtake this obstacle. We will try to score at least once in Madrid. We will have to fight on every ball, it will be a battle. Alvaro Morata is a friend, but I have already warned him that I will start bruising him once he gets on the pitch. If he can find some trust, he can be one of the best in the world, hopefully after these two games. I recall that the match in 2014 was intense and difficult, but I especially remember the duel with Mario Mandzukic. He had a mask for the nose, but after a pair of clashes he took it off and we started going at it.”

Here is what the captain had to say: “Atletico’s philosophy is more akin to an Italian team than to a Spanish one. They have a rock-solid and vertical style. They have achieved great results and have quality players, but they do not play like Barcelona. Antoine Griezmann makes them unpredictable.”

“Cristiano was important to fill the void of Buffon from a character standpoint, because he is an example. We could have been complacent after few years on top, but we are going above and beyond with him on board. We have reached two Champions League finals, now we need the final step. His work ethic helps us and we always try to learn something from him.”

“Alvaro Morata is a golden guy and we hoped he would stay for a long time, but he had the opportunity to return home. He is very dangerous in Champions League, he is quick, he plays with both feet and is capable in the air. If he can be consistent, he can be a great player.”

On the last game in Madrid: “It was a complicated moment for the referee. We were up three-nothing in the stoppage time. Probably my teammates and I made a mistake, he was a good young referee. It was an unpleasant but comprehensible situation.”

“Sergio Ramos is the best defender in the world, he rarely makes any mistake and, if he does it is because all the others did too. I do not think we would have that lead if Ramos was on the pitch.”

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