19 December 2016
Leonardo Bonucci has today prolonged his Juventus journey, renewing his contract until 2021.
Bonucci’s Bianconeri career to date is one of the most significant individual success stories to have run parallel with the club’s consistent rise since he joined from Bari in 2010.
His 291 appearances and 185 victories in the black and white mean that he has both played and won more often than any other outfield player at Juventus over the course of the last six seasons.
Bonucci has built a reputation in Turin for his ability to play the ball out from the back – a talent that has seen him become the side’s key deeplying creator down the years.
Take this season, for example, where Leo boasts figures far above the average defender in Serie A for completed passes per game (47.42 vs 33.15) and successful long balls forward (6.58 vs 2.7).
These numbers make even better reading in the Champions League: 70.20 vs 38.94 and 8.20 vs 2.79 respectively.
Then there’s Bonucci’s undoubted eye for a goal. His 16 strikes in black and white make him the Bianconeri’s highest scoring defender since the 2010/11 season.
Goals not merely of significant quantity but also of great quality: Roma, Milan, Inter, Napoli, Fiorentina and Lazio all among the victims to have suffered from a Bonucci special, while his piledriver from distance last month in southern Spain downed Sevilla and sealed Juve’s progress to the Champions League knockout stages.
His threat within the final third however does not detract from rock-solid showings across the backline. Fearless in the tackle and possessing an astute tactical mind, Leo can be regularly seen winning back the ball or intercepting opposition passes, having done so a phenomenal 1,367 and 585 times respectively over the past six seasons.
A titanic performer on the pitch, Bonucci is also a genuine leader both during matches and in the dressing room. Needless to say, he’s relished each occasion in which he’s worn the captain’s armband, famously netting the decisive spot-kick in February’s Coppa Italia semi-final against Inter.
It’s not often that you find world-class defenders with the same unrelenting determination to keep raising their game or that infectious enthusiasm which rubs off on the rest of the group, but in Bonucci, Juventus can now look forward to at least another four and a half years of it.