Juventus centre back Leonardo Bonucci has revealed that he rejected the chance to join reigning European champions Real Madrid when he opted to leave AC Milan last summer, instead re-signing for I Bianconeri just 13 months after leaving.
Bonucci surprisingly left Juve in 2017 after a spat with coach Massimiliano Allegri. But after failing to reach his former level with his new club, the Italian international made his way back to Turin after only one season in a swap deal with Mattia Caldara valued at €35m.
He could have joined Real Madrid at that point, but the 31-year-old has revealed to Spanish outlet AS that his desire to feel ‘at home’ once more after being away from his family, who had remained in Turin when he joined Milan, was a bigger pull.
“It is truth: Madrid looked at me,” Bonucci explained.
“It has been a pride and a pleasure to be on their radar, it means that I have worked well over the years. But the call of Juventus and the desire to return to feel at home made my heart decide that the Bianconeri colours suit me better,” he added.
Bonucci would have followed in the footsteps of Italy’s 2006 World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro had he taken the plunge and accepted the call from the Bernabeu. But some things are bigger and more important than football.
With his young son Matteo suffering from serious illness, something that even led the player to consider retirement in 2017, Bonucci found being away from his family hard.
“Last year I was almost always in Milan and my children never saw me. That reasons that pushed me to return [to Juventus],” he said.