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01st Oct 2021

Leonardo Bonucci suggests Ronaldo had negative effect on Juventus players’ motivation

Callum Boyle

‘The idea that one player, even the best in the world, could guarantee Juventus victory’

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci has suggested that the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo at the side led to some of the players subconsciously feeling that he would be able to win games on his own for them.

Ronaldo departed the Serie A side for a return to Manchester United this summer and in an interview with The Athletic, Bonucci admitted that while his arrival to Juventus initially gave everybody a lift, it also led to complacency.

“This was the thing,” he said. “The idea that one player, even the best in the world, could guarantee Juventus victory.

“Cristiano’s presence had a big influence on us. Just training with him gave us something extra but subconsciously players started to think his presence alone was enough to win games.

“We began to fall a little short in our daily work, the humility, the sacrifice, the desire to be there for your team-mate day after day. Over the last few years, I think you could see that.”

“Maybe it was taken for granted that if we gave the ball to Cristiano he’d win us the game. But Cristiano needed the team as much as we needed him. There had to be a trade-off because it’s the team that lifts the individual even if the individual is the best player on the planet.”

Juve didn’t get off to the best start in Serie A this season, but have evidently rediscovered some of that motivation Bonucci is talking about, having just beaten Chelsea in the Champions League after back to 3-2 wins in the league.

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