'Thank you, captain. I love you' – New Juventus skipper Bonucci hails outgoing Chiellini
The dominant centre-back partnership of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci will part ways at the end of the season.FotMob - about 2 months ago
Juventus star Leonardo Bonucci has expressed his admiration for outgoing Bianconeri and Italy team-mate Giorgio Chiellini.
Chiellini confirmed after the 4-2 Coppa Italia final loss to Inter in midweek that this season will be his last for Juve, who the 37-year-old has played for since 2004 and won 20 trophies during his time in Turin.
The veteran defender has already announced he will retire from international duty with Italy as well after a meeting with Argentina at Wembley Stadium on June 1.
It will be a fitting end for Chiellini after he lifted the Euro 2020 title at Wembley following a penalty shoot-out victory over England last July alongside long-time team-mate Bonucci.
Reports in Italy suggest Chiellini may opt to play in MLS before taking his vast experience into management or a coaching role.
Massimiliano Allegri has confirmed Bonucci will take the captain's armband at Juve for the next campaign, and the centre-back was quick to heap praise on his colleague Chiellini.
The defensive duo won eight Serie A titles together and claimed the Coppa Italia five times, while they also helped Juve reach the Champions League final in 2015 and 2017.
Bonucci posted on Instagram: "Dear Giorgio, where to start?
"I think it has to be from the end. Today is your day and the day the team, these colours, this dressing room starts to miss you. You have been an example, a guidance, a brother, a friend.
"We have shared more than 10 years together, we have rejoiced, we have suffered, we have worked hard, we have closed ranks together, we have fought, we have WON.
"Won a lot with Juve, won something unique with Italy. Being on the pitch alongside you, for me, has been a privilege, an honour. Off the pitch even more so. I have learned from you to be ready for anything.
"Best of luck to you, legend, for what's to come. Whatever it is, you will always do it as the top of the class.
"The invisible piece of rope which followed us onto the pitch will keep us tied together forever in my football battles, in the victories and in the more difficult moments.
"Thank you, captain. I love you."
A clash with Lazio at the Allianz Stadium on Monday will be Chiellini's final home appearance for the Old Lady.