Leonardo Bonucci, the captain of Italy and Juventus, has announced his retirement at the end of next season.
Leonardo Bonucci, captain of Italy and Juventus, has announced his retirement from football at the end of next season.
The 36-year-old has won eight Serie A titles in two stints with the Italian club and made his 500th appearance last week against Sevilla.
He has 120 international caps and was a member of the Italian team that defeated England to win Euro 2020 in July 2021.
“Wearing this shirt has been like living a dream for the past 12 years,” he explained to Juventus’ YouTube account.
“Everything I’ve done has been for a shirt that’s like a second skin to me.”
“There’s still a little boy inside who is so happy to wear this shirt and take to the field in it because it was his dream – a dream come true.”
Bonucci, whose contract with Inter Milan expires next season, began his career in 2005, where he earned his first Serie A title in 2005-06.
Before joining Juventus in 2010, he played for Treviso, Pisa, Genoa, and Bari, and was part of a famed Juve backline that included Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini, and goalie Gianluigi Buffon that dominated Italian football for a decade.
Between 2011-12 and 2019-20, the Turin giants won nine consecutive titles, with Bonucci winning eight of them after spending one season at AC Milan in 2017-18.
Bonucci made his Italy debut in March 2010 and became the team’s first captain four years later.
He played in two World Cups and three European Championships for the Azzurri, finishing runner-up at Euro 2012 before capturing the championship nine years later in a penalty shootout win over England at Wembley.
“When I stop playing next year, it will be the end of a defensive era – a way of defending Italian style,” he continued.