Leonardo Bonucci today completed his transfer to Milan, in what is one of the most shocking Serie A transfers of recent times.
Juventus have sold the defender for €40m plus €2m in bonuses just months after the Italian international renewed his contract, strengthening a rival in the process.
It’s a truly stunning move for a player who has sat with Juve fans in the Curva, and we’ve taken a look at the events which led to his departure.
Bonucci rejects Manchester City
When Bayern Munich knocked Juventus out of the Champions League in February 2014, Pep Guardiola described Bonucci as “one of my favourite ever players”.
With the Catalan Coach moving to Manchester City in the summer, there was inevitable speculation that he would try to bring the centre-back to England.
City did try to convince Bonucci to make the switch, but the defender ultimately decided that his future lay in Turin.
“It wasn’t a decision taken lightly,” Bonucci later explained. “When you see one of the top Coaches in the world show so much respect and appreciation for you it’s hard to say no. My heart prevailed.
“There’s so much Juventus in me, it’s a matter of heart and skin. Every time I wear the shirt it gives me this incredible energy. I hope I can be important for Juventus, as Juventus is for me.”
December 19, 2016 - Juventus renewal
Following a summer of speculation over his future, Bonucci put pen to paper on a new Juventus deal on December 19.
The centre-back extended his contract until 2021, earning a wage rise in the process and seemingly committing to end his career with the Old Lady.
“I'm glad and proud of this choice to continue on a glorious and increasingly victorious path until 2021,” said Bonucci at the time.
“Our goal is to play every game to win and to keep getting better and better up until 2021. After that maybe we will go even further together, collecting many trophies.”
February 17, 2017 - Row with Allegri
A comfortable 4-1 home win might not be the most logical result to start a feud, but that’s just what happened after Juventus-Palermo in February.
Bonucci was seen shouting at Juve Coach Massimiliano Allegri during the match, being curtly told shut up by the Tuscan tactician.
After the final whistle, the Azzurri star swore at his Coach before storming up the tunnel. Allegri insisted “these things happen”, but it was the first sign that all was not well with Bonucci.
February 21, 2017 - Bonucci dropped for Champions League
The next match after the Palermo incident was a crucial Champions League tie with Porto, and fans were stunned when it was announced Bonucci would be dropped for his actions.
Juventus took the decision in conjunction with Allegri, with the defender seen sitting on a stool in the stands, just feet from vice-President Pavel Nedved and general manager Giuseppe Marotta.
“Out of respect for the club, the team and the fans, this was the right decision,” Allegri said in his pre-match Press conference. The case is closed.
“Leo understood the situation, as an intelligent lad and important player for Juventus. It’s a moment that will be useful for the future.
“I also had a reaction that was not right and not suited to the way I see football, above all with fans and children watching, so tomorrow I will give a charity donation.”
Allegri has continued to defend the decision to exclude his centre-back, while Bonucci himself appeared to have put the incident behind him.
“We must always maintain proper respect and our proper roles. I was wrong and I paid for it,” he told Sky last month.
“It’s part of every relationship, whether that’s friendships, family, or work. I defy anyone to tell me that they haven’t had a fight with a friend, a wife, a colleague, a boss.
“It can happen, the important thing is to understand when you’re wrong.”
June 3, 2017 - Champions League final rows
Juventus reached the Champions League final for the second time in three years, but after a good first half they were meekly beaten 4-1 by Real Madrid.
A few weeks later, rumours began to emerge of a half-time bust-up in the dressing room, with Bonucci very much the protagonist.
It’s claimed the defender gave Paulo Dybala a slap and told him to wake up, following a poor 45 minutes in Cardiff.
He then told Allegri that the problems were coming from Marcelo down Juve’s right side - a suggestion which was not well received by Andrea Barzagli, who was playing on that flank.
These rumours have never been confirmed or denied, but it would be Bonucci’s last match for the club.
Wednesday - First rumours emerge
On Wednesday, SportMediaset ran a story claiming that Milan had made an approach for Bonucci.
The story was greeted with immense skepticism, even dismissed as “fake news” in some quarters.
The voices about a possible departure grew louder throughout the day, however, before agent Alessandro Lucci’s bombshell admission that a sale was being discussed.
Most accepted that it was possible Bonucci would leave - but surely not for Milan?
Thursday - The deal advances
Bonucci returned to training with his Juventus teammates, but speculation continued that he was on his way out.
Talk began to emerge of the two clubs moving closer to a deal, with Juve asking €40m and the Rossoneri offering €30m.
In the afternoon, news broke that a contract had been agreed worth €6m per season, with Agnelli-owned newspaper La Stampa reporting a deal could be completed that evening.
It was then it became clear that the deal was going to happen.
Friday - Bonucci signs for Milan
On Friday it was official - Leonardo Bonucci was a Milan player.
“AC Milan have reached an agreement with Juventus FC for the permanent transfer of Leonardo Bonucci, subject to medical completion,” confirmed the statement.
“Should the player pass the medical examination in the next few days, he will join the Club, penning a five-year contract.”
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