Bonucci not crucial like Maradona, Messi or Ronaldo, says Barzagli

Andrea Barzagli and Juventus are not dwelling on Leonardo Bonucci's departure heading into Saturday's Serie A opener against Cagliari.

Bonucci sensationally quit Juventus for Italian rival AC Milan in a stunning €42million deal in July.   -  Getty Images

While important to Juventus, Andrea Barzagli said the Serie A champion can cope without defender Leonardo Bonucci, insisting he is not crucial like Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Italy international centre-back Bonucci sensationally quit Juventus for Italian rival AC Milan in a stunning €42million deal in July.

The 30-year-old helped Juve to six consecutive Serie A titles, as well two Champions League runners-up medals during his time in Turin.

But Barzagli said former team-mate Bonucci is replaceable as he backed Juve to continue its success.

"The two players who left [Bonucci and Dani Alves for Paris Saint-Germain] were important," Barzagli said.

"Among other things Bonucci spent seven years at Juve and was very important.

"In a squad though there are 23 players and 11 go on the field, no-one has ever destabilised or made the difference, except [Diego] Maradona or maybe Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

"One or two players can't shift the balance, the new players and the veterans have to come back with the right mind to tackle the league again."

Juve opens its title defence Saturday at home to Cagliari, while Bonucci's Milan travels to Crotone on Sunday.


Support Sportstar

Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos