Juventus and Italy captain Leonardo Bonucci has announced that he will retire from football at the end of the 2023-2024 season.
The 36-year-old Italian defender, who played in his 500th match against Sevilla on May 11, 2023, has won eight Serie A titles during his football career at Juventus. He has also made 120 appearances for his country.
Leonardo Bonucci began his professional career in 2005 at Inter Milan, where in the 2005–06 season he won his first Serie A title.
The defender had played at Bari, Genoa, Treviso, Pisa, and Pisa before signing with Juventus in 2010.
He was a prominent member of the Juventus defense, which dominated Italian football for 10 years. Other members of the defense were Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
The Turin giants won nine successive titles between 2011–12 and 2019–20, with Leonardo Bonucci taking home eight of them after spending one season at AC Milan in 2017–18.
Bonucci made his international debut for Italy in March 2010. He was appointed the team’s first captain four years later.
He took part in two World Cups and three European Championships for the Azzurri, finishing in second place at Euro 2012 and going on to win the championship nine years later at Wembley after defeating England on penalties.
“Wearing this shirt has been like living a dream for 12 years,” Leonardo Bonucci told Juventus’ YouTube channel.
“Everything I’ve done has been for a shirt that for me is like a second skin.
“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.”
He added, “When I stop playing next year, it will be the end of a defensive era – a way of defending Italian style.”
“It’s a source of pride to be up there with the greatest. I hope lots of future defenders will see us as idols – just as we did with (Franco) Baresi, (Alessandro) Nesta, (Paolo) Maldini, and (Fabio) Cannavaro.
“It would mean we have achieved a lot and given the game a lot.”
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