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Leonardo Bonucci Thanks Former Teammates

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Leonardo Bonucci has taken out a full-page advert in Gazzetta dello Sport to thank Juventus after leaving the club for AC Milan.

Bonucci, 30, had a strained relationship with Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri and it has been noticed that the defender failed to mention him in the farewell note, also posted on Instagram, that was entitled “A splendid story.”

“Seven seasons have passed,” the statement read. “Seven seasons of victories, of dreams come true, of growth achieved via an empathic and exceptional bond with Juve, in its absolute entirety.

“Six Scudetti, all experienced and earned by fighting. Naturally, there remains the great regret of not winning the Champions League, but stronger than that is the pride of success achieved and of being part of a big Family.

“I always gave my all, truly, to the end. I received, I gave and I learned.

“What I see today looking behind me is in any case a splendid story, worthy of reaching its conclusion in full respect and affection, without undermining what I experienced together with the Club, the Captain, my teammates and fans.

“Thank you for everything, Juve.”

Bonucci arrived in Milan to complete a reported €40 million transfer on Friday before the Rossoneri confirmed the news later that evening, saying that pending a medical exam the player would sign a five-year contract.

The Italy international has won the Serie A title with Juve in each of the last six seasons and also reached two Champions League finals in that time.

Speaking at a news conference upon Milan arriving in China for their preseason tour, coach Vincenzo Montella hailed Bonucci as one of the best centre-backs in world football but played down the Rossoneri’s Serie A title chances.

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“The club is doing an extraordinary job in the transfer market, bringing in both experienced and young players,” he said. “Many are arriving from other leagues, so will need a little time to adapt, but I am confident. In all honesty, I don’t feel the pressure that much. It’s easier for me to train strong players.

“It’s true, we made many changes by following a logical path, but it’ll take calm and patience to create a solid group. There are teams in Serie A who are already formed, like Juventus, Napoli and Roma. I consider them to be the favourites.

“[Bonucci] is a world class player. In terms of technique, I think he and Sergio Ramos are the best centre-backs in the world. It’s a dream for me to work with Bonucci, so I thank directors Massimiliano Mirabelli and Marco Fassone.”

Asked whether Bonucci would be named Milan captain, Montella said he was unsure.

“In my mind there are several captains, but I will exchange ideas with the club on this issue,” Montella added.

“Our objective is to get into the Champions League. I repeat, we need to become a team quickly and the lads I’ve got to know so far have already put their qualities at the disposal of the group. Certainly the arrival of Bonucci and [Lucas] Biglia allow us to approach the season with even more belief.

“Hakan Calhanoglu is a creative player who can take on various different roles: out wide to cut in, within a three-man midfield or as a trequartista. We’ll see.”


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