For one reason or another, Leonardo Bonucci was never truly a fan favorite for neither the supporters of Italy or Juventus. Nonetheless, the defender redeemed himself with a great Euro 2020 campaign, playing a big hand in his nation’s triumph.
In fact, the 34-year-old scored the Azzurri’s equalizer in the grand finale against England, and went on to convert the third spot kick in the penalty shootouts, as his team emerged victorious in Wembley.
Nonetheless, Leo made sure to dedicate this great triumph for his former Italy teammate, the late Davide Astori, as well as 1982 World Cup hero, Paolo Rossi, who passed away last year, and the entire nation who miserably suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” Bonucci told Radio RAI 1 as translated by Football Italia. “We lacked that centimeter but from there on we believed in it until we brought it home.
“The dedication goes to those who left us in this year and a half. Among so many champions, as done for [Davide] Astori, I want to make a special dedication to Paolo Rossi, a great man.
“The cup is for him and the Italians who have suffered.”
The Juventus man was amongst those who fought to ensue that the team would get to parade in the streets of Rome following their return from London.
“Today we just tried to give the dream to our fans, who wanted to stop us and had found the bus closed,” Bonucci said. “With so many people around, the best solution was to give them these moments.
“Thanks to everyone, from the first to the last Italian.”
The defender said that he was motived by the antics of England’s fans who whistled during the Italian national anthem.
“They whistled the anthem, they thought they had brought it home,” Bonucci said. “This, to me and the old man there [Giorgio Chiellini] did nothing but increase our motivation.
“It was a personal satisfaction for me and Giorgio, who have not always been getting the praise we deserved.”