Leonardo Bonucci has expressed his determination to keep up Juventus’ winning ways, starting with Sunday’s clash away at Cagliari.
The defender tucked home a poacher’s goal the Bianconeri strikers would have been proud of last Sunday against Roma, and he will soon get another chance to pounce when Antonio Conte’s men come up against Rudi Garcia’s again in the Coppa Italia, but for now his full focus is on the Rossoblu.
In an interview with Sky Sport, Bonucci began: “There’s some time until the Coppa Italia game, even though it’s definitely going to be an interesting one between two great teams who will be facing each other again with just the same competitiveness.
“For now, though, we need to concentrate on Sunday. We’ll be taking on a team who are out for revenge and strong on the counter thanks to quick players like Ibarbo, Sau and Cossu. We’ll have to be on good form.”
Sunday’s venue, the Stadio Sant’Elia, has a special place in Bonucci’s heart as the ground where he made his Serie A debut on 14 May 2006.
“It was my last season with Inter and I came on at the end in place of Solari. I played a few minutes as right-back and I got goose bumps every time the ball came to me. It’s a wonderful memory.”
But the memories the 26-year-old has in the black and white stripes are by now far more intense, and he went on to say that he feels right at home in the Juve colours.
“I couldn’t see myself in any other shirt. It feels like my second skin and it would be an honour for me to spend the rest of my career with this club.”
A large part of the growth he has undergone as both player and man at Juventus is down to Antonio Conte, a manager he was quick to credit with aiding his development.
“He’s a perfectionist who takes care of the very smallest details, and has helped me to improve a great deal, even just in terms of my body posture.”
Perhaps Conte’s most famous quality is his relentless desire to win, and it’s a characteristic which Bonucci seems to have assimilated completely.
“We shouldn’t ever look at what we’re achieving in terms of numbers, because our minimum aim should be victory. That’s how you break records: they’re fruits of your approach and the work you put in every day.”
It’s with that in mind that Bonucci decided on his objectives for the new year, aims which reveal the ambition that has brought him to where he is today.
“I want to be hungry for more: the Scudetto with Juve and a great World Cup with the Azzurri.”