Sunday July 23 2017
Bonucci: I played as a striker!

Milan’s Leonardo Bonucci has made a startling revelation about his journey to a top-level centre-back. “I started defending at 16 and even played as a striker.”

Speaking to Milan TV on Sunday, Bonucci also hailed his new club’s European pedigree and reiterated his desire to help the Rossoneri “back to where they deserve to be”.

“When I think about Milan, I remember their tradition, their history, their important victories…” the former Juventus man told Milan TV.

“You don’t win seven Champions Leagues by chance. It means that there’s a tradition, a winning mentality. It’s now our task to bring Milan back to where they deserve to be.

“I started defending at 16, before playing as a defensive midfielder. I even played a few games as a striker, but then in my year with Viterbese in the Beretti [youth League], their Carlo Perrone told me that if I wanted to become someone, I had to become a centre-back.

“I wasn’t convinced at first, but I was the captain and I had to listen to him. Looking back, he was right.

“My idol growing up was Del Piero, he always impressed me with his way of playing.

“But I also looked at Alessandro Nesta, a master in defending and playing the ball, with admiration

“For me, he was a point of reference. There are so many at Milan, such as Maldini, Baresi, Kaka and Shevchenko.

“It was exciting to enter the club’s museum and see the champions who once wore this shirt.

“The best player in the world? Cristiano Ronaldo. He’s the best player I’ve ever faced. He has all the characteristics of a champion.

“Best player I’ve played with? Pirlo? Give him the ball and he’ll put it in the bank. I learned so much from Andrea.”

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