Leonardo Bonucci explains negative effect of Cristiano Ronaldo on Juventus team

Max Cooper
Bonucci opened up on Ronaldo's time at Juventus
Bonucci opened up on Ronaldo's time at Juventus / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Leonardo Bonucci believes Cristiano Ronaldo's presence at Juventus caused his teammates to 'subconsciously fall short in their daily work', eventually starving the Portuguese star of the support he needed.

The Bianconeri failed to win the Serie A title for the first time in a decade last season and never came close to lifting the Champions League trophy during Ronaldo's three years at the club. For that reason, his time in Turin is not considered a major success, despite scoring 101 goals.

Leonardo Bonucci
Bonucci spoke candidly about Ronaldo's time in Turin / Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Speaking to The Athletic, Juve defender Bonucci admitted that while Ronaldo 'had a big influence' on the team, it also caused teammates to slack off and 'fall short', relying on the 36-year-old to constantly dig them out of trouble.

"The idea that one player, even the best in the world, could guarantee Juventus victory. Cristiano’s presence had a big influence on us. Just training with him gave us something extra but subconsciously players started to think his presence alone was enough to win games.

"We began to fall a little short in our daily work, the humility, the sacrifice, the desire to be there for your team-mate day after day. Over the last few years, I think you could see that.

“Last season, we finished fourth and won the Coppa Italia because we became a team again. If you had thrown a piece of wood in the dressing room before those games it would have caught fire such was the electricity running through it. We missed that.

"Maybe it was taken for granted that if we gave the ball to Cristiano he’d win us the game. But Cristiano needed the team as much as we needed him. There had to be a trade-off because it’s the team that lifts the individual even if the individual is the best player on the planet.”

Ronaldo held up his end of the bargain at Juve, scoring at least 20 goals in all three seasons in Serie A while firing the Old Lady to two league titles and a Coppa Italia trophy. He then left the club in the summer, returning to Manchester United in a deal worth an initial £12.8m.