Juventus insisted on Wednesday that there was nothing wrong with its treatment of ageing outcast Leonardo Bonucci after the Italian footballers’ association said his “dignity is being trampled on”.
In a statement which didn’t mention Italy captain Bonucci, Juve defended the “legitimacy of its actions towards all registered players who are recognised and are fully guaranteed all the rights” agreed in professional football’s collective bargaining agreement.
Defender Bonucci has been frozen out by Juve and is not training with the first team, even missing out on the Serie A club’s pre-season tour in the USA last month.
Italian media reported that Bonucci, who is 36 and has one year left on his contract, has formally requested via his legal representatives he be reinstated in the first team.
Juve added that the club is “also ready... to defend the full legitimacy of its behaviour” should Bonucci launch legal action against the team he captained last season.
Earlier on Wednesday the head of the footballers’ association (AIC), Umberto Calcagno, blasted Juve’s behaviour as “illegitimate and banned by the collective bargaining agreement”.
“His dignity is being trampled on... Juventus should immediately reinstate him as he is suffering serious damage to his career,” said Calcagno to news Agency ANSA.
“Bonucci is the tip of the iceberg of a number of (similar) situations. There are players like him who have broad shoulders and keep going with their chest out, but others who just put up with it.”
Bonucci was a key component of the Juve team which dominated Italian football for a decade, winning eight league titles between 2012 and 2020 and twice reaching the Champions League final with the so-called ‘Old Lady’.
He also became a national hero two years ago thanks to his decisive role alongside central defensive partner Giorgio Chiellini in Italy winning Euro 2020.
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