Bonucci rejected Real Madrid for Juventus return

Having previously said he turned down a move to Manchester United, Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci claims Real Madrid also wanted him.

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci   -  Getty Images

Leonardo Bonucci says he turned down the chance to sign for Real Madrid in order to return to Juventus.

Bonucci left Juve for fellow Serie A side AC Milan in 2017 but re-signed for the Italian champion after a single season with the Rossoneri.

Having previously claimed to have been a target for Manchester City, Bonucci earlier confirmed he was pursued by its Premier League rivals Manchester United before rejoining Juve.

And ahead of his side's Champions League last-16 first leg away to Atletico Madrid, Bonucci revealed the tournament's holder Real Madrid tried to sign him too.

"It is the truth: Madrid looked for me," Bonucci told AS. "It has been a pride and a pleasure to be in their sights, it means that I have worked well in these years.

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"But the call of Juventus and the desire to return to feel at home took my heart to decide that the white and black colours suit me better."

Bonucci explained an illness suffered by one of his children, Matteo, was among his motivations to go back to Serie A champions Juve.

"I knew this decision would cause controversy but I know myself," he added. "I know how to respond in the field.

Leonardo Bonucci at AC Milan   -  Getty Images

 

"How did my son Lorenzo react? He's happy because dad came home. Last year I was almost always in Milan and he could not see me. It was one of the reasons why I came back.

"It was a very tough five months, and I understood what my priorities were. Before, the desire to go far, to be a great player, led me to put football and family in the same place.

"I learned, thanks to Matteo, that I can live without football, but not without my family, my children. It is the ugliest thing that can happen to you, but luckily now everything is fine."

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Juventus is on track to win an eighth consecutive Serie A title, with Massimiliano Allegri's side 13 points clear of Napoli, but Bonucci denies his team is cruising.

"It is not as easy as it looks. The level of Italian football has improved," he said. "I'll be honest: there was a time when Juve were far above the others.

"You played against Napoli, Inter and Milan and felt that you were going to win without problems, now it is not like that. In the last two or three years especially Napoli were very close."

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