Leonardo Bonucci calls out Cristiano Ronaldo over Juventus work rate

Tom Gott
Bonucci has spoken on Ronaldo's time at Juventus
Bonucci has spoken on Ronaldo's time at Juventus / Nicolò Campo/GettyImages

Leonardo Bonucci has urged Juventus to rediscover the team spirit and work rate that he claims has been missing since Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival.

Ronaldo moved to Turin in 2018 and racked up 101 goals in 134 appearances, winning the Serie A title in his first two years with Juventus, but things began to fall apart last season and the Portugal international moved to Manchester United in the summer with a year left on his contract.

At Old Trafford, Ronaldo has faced criticism for his poor teamwork, which many feel has actually harmed United, and Bonucci suggested Juventus had endured something similar during the 2020/21 season.

“Ronaldo made a choice that we respected,” Bonucci told Amazon Prime Sport (via Gianluca Di Marzio). “Last year the team played for him, now the group must rediscover that Juve spirit that was there before his arrival.”

One of the things Bonucci hopes to see is for Juventus to 'rediscover the taste of fatigue' - an apparent dig at Ronaldo's limited work rate.

Ronaldo's limitations have been discussed at length following United's disjointed performance in their 4-2 defeat to Leicester, in which he started in attack but failed to inspire a positive team showing yet again.

However, even before that game, critics had begun to question Ronaldo's overall influence on the team, with United legend Gary Neville discussing the topic on The Overlap.

"With it comes big positives, but with it also comes problems," he said. "Ronaldo had to be managed, shall we say.

"In the 2008 Barcelona semi-final away from home, Cristiano Ronaldo was shoved up front on his own, and Rooney and Park Ji-sung were shoved wide, and Tevez was brought back to [mark] Busquets. You couldn't carry him in the big games because he generally doesn't work hard enough.

"So he's playing up front now - you're never going to press from the front. So the idea that Manchester United can become a pressing team with Cristiano up front is never going to happen. He wasn't pressing 10-15 years ago."