Leonardo Bonucci says he turned down the chance to sign for Real Madrid in order to return to Juventus.
Bonucci left Juve for fellow Serie A side AC Milan in 2017 but re-signed for the Italian champions after a single season with the Rossoneri.
Having previously claimed to have been a target for Manchester City, Bonucci earlier confirmed he was pursued by their Premier League rivals Manchester United before rejoining Juve.
And ahead of his side’s Champions League last-16 first leg away to Atletico Madrid, Bonucci revealed the tournament’s holders Real Madrid tried to sign him too.
“It is the truth: Madrid looked for me,” Bonucci told AS. “It has been a pride and a pleasure to be in their sights, it means that I have worked well in these years.
“But the call of Juventus and the desire to return to feel at home took my heart to decide that the white and black colours suit me better.”
— Leonardo Bonucci (@bonucci_leo19) February 13, 2019
Bonucci explained an illness suffered by one of his children, Matteo, was among his motivations to go back to Serie A champions Juve.
“I knew this decision would cause controversy but I know myself,” he added. “I know how to respond in the field.
“How did my son Lorenzo react? He’s happy because dad came home. Last year I was almost always in Milan and he could not see me. It was one of the reasons why I came back.
“It was a very tough five months, and I understood what my priorities were. Before, the desire to go far, to be a great player, led me to put football and family in the same place.
“I learned, thanks to Matteo, that I can live without football, but not without my family, my children. It is the ugliest thing that can happen to you, but luckily now everything is fine.”
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) February 16, 2019
Juventus are on track to win an eighth consecutive Serie A title, with Massimiliano Allegri’s side 13 points clear of Napoli, but Bonucci denies they are cruising.
“It is not as easy as it looks. The level of Italian football has improved,” he said. “I’ll be honest: there was a time when Juve were far above the others.
“You played against Napoli, Inter and Milan and felt that you were going to win without problems, now it is not like that. In the last two or three years especially Napoli were very close.”
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