30. Leonardo Bonucci
After a summer plagued with rumors of a move abroad, particularly to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and to Antonio Conte’s (his former coach) Chelsea, Leonardo Bonucci decided to stay at Juventus for one more season.
The moved proved to be a good one for the Italian as he enjoyed another successful campaign with the bianconeri winning the domestic double and reaching the Champions League final.
At the beginning of the season Juventus started with their classic formation of 3-5-2 that’s been used regularly since the Conte days and that brought many success to the club in recent years (partnering as usual with Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli). Halfway through the season Allegri switched to a 4-2-3-1 with Bonucci and Chiellini as CBs and Dani Alves and Alex Sandro on the wings.
Since the last game of the Champions League’s group stage against Dinamo Zagreb up until the return leg of the semifinals against Monaco, when Mbappé scored the 1-2, Juventus went 690 minutes without conceding a single goal, with Bonucci being arguably the greatest performer in the bianconeri backline. The run was the second best in the history of the competition, only beaten by Arsenal’s in 2006 (995 minutes).
Aside from this fantastic defensive contribution, this was the season where Bonucci scored his highest goal tally in his career, with five. The best one of those was a brilliant solo run against Genoa, in April. He received the ball in his own half, dribbled past two opponents and finished it off with a dazzling long-range effort.
Despite this, not everything was good for the Italian international this season, as in late 2016 his two-yeard old son Matteo was struggling with a strange illness in his brain that required surgery twice. Fortunately he’s been healthy ever since.
Now, it’s rumored that Antonio Conte is making another strong push this summer to partner with him again, but in Torino they’re doing everything possible to keep the center back there for many years to come.
By: Hernán Busso/@Hernan1897