Leonardo Bonucci is widely regarded as one of the best central defenders in the business. A serial champion in Italy, and a familiar name in the Azzurri’s backline, Bonucci is a leader, a fighter and technical player with formidable strength, exceptional positioning and game sense.
But of late, Bonucci has been thrown into the spotlight for a number of reasons not pertaining to his footballing credentials. Primarily, for his comments on the racial abuse directed towards Moise Kean.
When Juventus went away to Cagliari in the league for a midweek fixture, Kean and Matuidi were subjected to racist chants by the home fans, as Juve won the match 2-0.
Kean responded to the chants by scoring his side’s second goal and celebrating in front of the Cagliari fans. Bonucci, when asked about the incident, rather harshly said – “The blame is 50-50.”, suggesting that Kean was partly to blame for the incident.
The Italian’s comments have infuriated the football community, with many players and fans calling him out; most notably by Raheem Sterling.
With social media booming against Bonucci’s stand, he has since backtracked on his statement and said that he had voiced his opinion “hastily”. Bianconeri manager Allegri also believes that Leonardo expressed himself “badly”.
And while the furor surrounding this incident cools down and the fight to kick racism out of football finds more voice, Bonucci has found himself in the limelight again; this time in a much lighter moment.
In a video of Kean’s goal against AC Milan in a heavyweight league match, Bonucci appears to have sprinted all the way from the defensive third to the corner where Kean where was celebrating.
What has amused fans is that Bonucci was the first to celebrate with Kean, despite the fact that he was nowhere close by during the buildup to the goal. He was first to get to Kean despite the fact that there were other Juve players in the vicinity of the Italian wonderkid. One can only imagine that Leonardo had bolted like an Olympic sprinter to celebrate Kean’s late winner against Milan.
Clearly, Usain Bolt would be proud of the pace generated by the Italian to get to Kean in lightning quick time. Was this Bonucci’s way of indicating that his comments were misinterpreted even though they seemed controversial at the time? And in more pressing concerns, what action must be taken against racism in football? #noroomforracism