Bonucci playing for Italy in 2015
|Full name||Leonardo Bonucci|
|Date of birth||1 May 1987|
|Place of birth||Viterbo, Italy|
|Height||1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|2009||→ Pisa (loan)||18||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 12 February 2017.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 15 November 2016
After beginning his career with Inter in 2005, Bonucci spent the next few seasons on loan at Treviso and Pisa, before moving to Bari in 2009. His technique, ball-playing ability and defensive performances alongside fellow Italian centre back Andrea Ranocchia earned him a move to Juventus the following season, where he later became a key member of the club's three-man defensive line, alongside Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli, establishing himself as one of the best defenders in world football. He went on to win five consecutive Serie A titles with the team between 2012 and 2016.
At international level, Bonucci has represented Italy at two FIFA World Cups (2010 and 2014), two European Championships (2012 and 2016), and a FIFA Confederations Cup (2013), winning a runners-up medal at Euro 2012, and a third-place medal at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Bonucci has also won several individual honours for his performances: he was named to the UEFA Europa League Squad of the season during the 2013–14 season, and is a two-time member of the Serie A Team of the Year; he was named the Serie A Footballer of the Year in 2016, and was also included in the UEFA Team of the Year in the same season.
Bonucci started his career at the youth ranks of his hometown club Viterbese but was loaned to Internazionale in the summer of 2005. He played a number of pre-season friendlies for Inter first team. He then became a member of the Inter Primavera.
He played his first Coppa Italia match against Messina on 9 November 2006 when he came off the bench for substitute Fabio Grosso in the 86th minute. Bonucci featured in two more Coppa Italia games for Inter that season when he was brought on for the substituted Walter Samuel at half-time during the quarter final second leg match against Empoli and as a starter in the semi final second leg tie against Sampdoria.
In January 2007, 50% of Bonucci's registration rights were sold to Treviso by Inter along with 50% of the registration rights for fellow Primavera Team team-mate Daniel Maa Boumsong. At that time Bonucci was tagged for a peppercorn fee of €500. Bonucci subsequently remained at Inter until 30 June 2007 while Maa Boumsong returned from Treviso where he spent the first half of the season on loan. During Bonucci's last season with Inter's Primavera, he won the Campionato Nazionale Primavera.
Treviso and Pisa
On 1 July 2007, Bonucci and Maa Boumsong formally became players of Treviso after the loan contract back to Inter had expired. At Treviso, Bonucci played 20 starts in 27 Serie B appearances as one of the regular starters.
In June 2008, Bonucci was the only player that was bought back by Inter from Treviso but he remained at Treviso on loan. Bonucci was tagged for about €700,000 at that time.
On 8 June 2009, Bonucci underwent a medical examination at Genoa. On 1 July, Inter officially announced Bonucci, along with Robert Acquafresca, Francesco Bolzoni and Riccardo Meggiorini (€2.5M for Inter half), transferred to Genoa, as part of the deal that sent Thiago Motta and Diego Milito to Inter. Moreover, Ivan Fatić who co-owned between Chievo and Inter, became co-owned between Chievo and Genoa. Bonucci was valued €3 million at that time.
But on 2 July he was transferred to Bari from Genoa, on a co-ownership deal, for €1.75 million, along with Meggiorini (co-ownership deal, for €2.75 million), Matteo Paro (loan), Andrea Ranocchia (loan) and Giuseppe Greco (loan).
At Bari he became first choice in central defence under head coach Gian Piero Ventura, showing a composed yet strong and effective defensive style. He formed an extremely strong partnership with Andrea Ranocchia which was so effective that, as of the midway point in the 2009–10 season, Bari had the second best defensive record in Serie A. The strong partnership ended after Ranocchia got injured in mid-season and was ruled out for the remaining fixtures.
In July 2010 Leonardo Bonucci was signed by Juventus on a four-year contract for a total of €15.5 million from Genoa and Siena in cash-plus-player deal (remain 50% of Domenico Criscito to Genoa plus €2M cash and 50% of Sergio Bernardo Almirón to Bari plus €5M cash). He was assigned the shirt number 19.
Partnered with Azzurri teammate Giorgio Chiellini, Bonucci was immediately drafted into the starting line-up for the first matches of the season. He scored his first goal for Juventus in the Europa League play-off match against Sturm Graz.
Due to the presence of veteran of Andrea Barzagli, it was expected that Bonucci would compete with him for a starting place alongside Chiellini in a four-man defence as new manager Antonio Conte was known for his preference for the 4–4–2 formation. Instead Conte decided to play all three in a three-man defence aided by wingbacks and Bonucci established himself once again in the starting eleven alongside Chiellini and Barzagli. Due to their performances together, the three-man defence earned the nickname BBC, a reference to the players' initials, and soon the trio established themselves as one of the best defences in world football during the following seasons. On 2 April 2012 Juventus announced that he had signed a new 5-year contract effective on 1 July 2012. Bonucci won his first major title, the 2011–12 Scudetto, and contributed two goals as Juventus finished the season undefeated and with one of the best defensive records in the top five European leagues. His good form that season earned him a place in the final UEFA Euro 2012 squad.
Bonucci began the season by winning the 2012 Supercoppa Italiana with Juventus. He made his Champions League debut against Chelsea in the group stage and scored his first goal in the competition against Shaktar Donetsk on October 2012 in a 1–1 draw. On December 2012 Bonucci was criticized for diving in a league game against Palermo on which was described by a number of journalists as "the worst dive ever". He was booked by the referee during the game and subsequently given a one-match ban and a €2000 fine by the authorities. Juventus finished the season by winning the 2012–13 Serie A title.
The following season, Bonucci would help Juventus to defend the Supercoppa Italiana and the Serie A title, although Juventus would suffer a group-stage elimination in the UEFA Champions League. Nevertheless, he helped Juventus to reach the semi-finals of the Europa League, scoring a decisive goal against Lyon in the quarter-finals.
During the 2014–15 season, Bonucci made his 200th appearance with Juventus on 25 January 2015, in a 2–0 win over Chievo. On 6 June 2015, Bonucci started for Juventus in the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final as La Vecchia Signora was defeated 3–1 by Barcelona at Berlin's Olympiastadion. With 52 appearances, he made the most appearances for Juventus that season across all competitions, along with team-mates Claudio Marchisio and Roberto Pereyra. On 24 November 2015, Bonucci was nominated for the 2015 UEFA Team of the Year. On 2 March 2016, he captained Juventus in the absence of Buffon and Chiellini, scoring the decisive penalty in the resulting shoot-out of the second leg of the Coppa Italia semi-finals against Inter, at the San Siro, following a 3–3 draw on aggregate, which allowed Juventus to progress to the final; however, due to the yellow card he received during the match, and having already been booked prior to the fixture, he missed the victorious final against Milan, which saw Juventus capture a domestic double for the second consecutive season, including a record fifth consecutive league title.
During the beginning of the 2016–17 season, Bonucci dedicated time to his ill son Matteo, missing select matches with Juventus and the national team. On 27 November, Bonucci suffered a severe thigh strain in an eventual 3–1 away loss to Genoa, sidelining him for up to 60 days. On 19 December, Bonucci penned a new deal with Juventus, keeping him at the club until 2021. On 5 January 2017, Bonucci was named to the 2016 UEFA Team of the Year. On 30 January, Bonucci was named to the 2015–16 Serie A Team of the Year, and was also named the 2016 Serie A Footballer of the Year.
At youth level, he played for Under-21 Serie B representative team. He was call-up to the friendly against Renate on 6 November 2007, and against Under-20 Serie C representative team on 4 December 2007. He also capped for the team in an internal friendly, which split the Under-21 Serie B team into two on 9 October 2007, on 21 October 2008, on 25 November, and on 24 March 2009 as team captain.
Bonucci made his debut with Italy senior team on 3 March 2010, under manager Marcello Lippi, in a friendly match against Cameroon played in Monaco, which ended in a 0–0 draw, and became one of the few debutants to have never played an official match for the national youth teams. He was included by manager Marcello Lippi in the starting line-up along with national team regulars Fabio Cannavaro and Giorgio Chiellini, forming a three-man defensive line in Lippi's 3–4–3 formation.
Due to his performances during the 2009–10 season, Bonucci was included in the Italy squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He scored his international first goal on 3 June 2010, in a 1–2 friendly loss against Mexico, in a pre-tournament friendly match. In the World Cup, he appeared as an unused substitute for all three of Italy's matches, as they suffered a first-round elimination, failing to win a match.
Bonucci ended a fine 2011–12 season by earning a place in the final 23-man Italy squad for UEFA Euro 2012, under manager Cesare Prandelli, helping Italy to reach the final of the tournament, where they were defeated 4–0 by defending champions Spain. He started in all but one match as Italy reached the finals.
In the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup he missed his spot-kick in the penalty shoot-out against Spain in the semi-finals, shooting high over the bar as Italy went out of the competition losing 7–6 on penalties; Italy would win the bronze medal match over Uruguay 4–3 on penalties, after a 2–2 draw following extra-time, allowing them to capture third place.
Bonucci was selected by Cesare Prandelli to be part of the Italy squad that would take part at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, although again remaining an unused substitute, as they were eliminated in the first round of the competition for a second consecutive time.
On 4 September 2014, under new Italy manager Antonio Conte, Bonucci wore the captain's armband for Italy for the first time, following Daniele De Rossi's substitution in a 2–0 friendly win over the Netherlands.
On 31 May 2016, Bonucci was named to Conte's 23-man Italy squad for UEFA Euro 2016. On 13 June he set up Emanuele Giaccherini's goal, Italy's first of the match, with a long ball in a 2–0 win over Belgium in the opening group match of Euro 2016; he was later booked for a tactical foul. After helping Italy to another clean-sheet in a 1–0 victory in the second group match against Sweden on 17 June, Bonucci was once again praised for his defensive performances alongside Chiellini and Barzagli. On 22 June, he captained Italy in Buffon's absence in his nation's final group match, a 1–0 defeat to Ireland. On 27 June he produced a Man of the Match performance in the round of 16 of the tournament as he helped Italy to keep a third clean sheet and defeat defending champions Spain 2–0. In the quarter-final fixture against Germany on 2 July, he scored Italy's equalising goal from a penalty, although his spot-kick was saved by Manuel Neuer in the resulting shoot-out, as the reigning World Cup champions advanced to the semi-finals following a 6–5 shoot-out victory.
In June 2011 Bonucci married his long-time girlfriend Martina Maccari, a former model. They have two sons, Lorenzo (b. July 2012) and Matteo (b. May 2014). His father owns a paint shop in Viterbo.
In October 2012, Bonucci and his wife and then five-month-old son were confronted by an armed robber who demanded the defender to hand over his watch. As the robber reached out to take the watch, Bonucci reportedly punched him and chased him down the street. The robber escaped with his accomplice on a motorbike.
Style of play
A former midfielder who is usually deployed as ball-playing centre back in a three-man defence (although he is also capable of playing in a four-man defence), Bonucci is primarily known for his technique, passing range, and his ability to launch an attack from the back with long passes. A tall and strong defender, with a good positional sense, as well as good anticipation, solid tackling, and an ability to read the game and mark opponents, he also excels in the air, and frequently poses a threat from set pieces. Although he was once criticised for being inconsistent and prone to errors or lapses in concentration in his youth, he showed notable improvements during the 2014–15 season, and established himself as one of the best defenders in world football, also drawing praise from manager Pep Guardiola, who described Bonucci as one of his "favourite ever players". His unique playing style has led Giovanni Galli to compare him to former sweeper Gaetano Scirea. In 2012, The Guardian named him the 88th Best Player in the World. In 2016, his defensive attributes, as well as his skill on the ball, vision, and accurate passing, moved La Repubblica to dub him as “Beckenbonucci”, a reference to former German sweeper Franz Beckenbauer. In addition to his defensive, playmaking and technical skills, Bonucci has also been praised for his leadership.
- As of 12 February 2017
|Pisa (Loan)||2008–09||Serie B||18||1||0||0||–||–||18||1|
- As of 15 November 2016
- As of match played 2 July 2016. Italy score listed first, score column indicates score after each Bonucci goal.
|1||3 June 2010||King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium||Mexico||1–2||1–2||Friendly|
|2||3 September 2010||A. Le Coq Arena, Tallinn, Estonia||Estonia||2–1||2–1||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying|
|3||9 September 2014||Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway||Norway||2–0||2–0||UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying|
|4||2 July 2016||Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France||Germany||1–1||1–1 (5–6 p)||UEFA Euro 2016|
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