Ex-Juventus Star Bonucci Rejects 'Traitor' Claims After Controversial AC Milan Switch
Leonardo Bonucci has refuted claims that he is a "traitor or mercenary" after turning his back on Juventus to join Serie A rivals AC Milan.
The centre-back was quoted by Football Italia as he faced the press following his £35m move from the Italian top flight champions to the San Siro, and was asked if doing so made him a back-stabber in the eyes of Juventus' fans.
Bonucci, however, insisted such claims were false and stated being booed upon his return to Turin would only make him perform better for his new side.
He said: “Given what I gave to Juve, I don't feel like a traitor or a mercenary. If they whistle me, they ought to know that, just like the insults I received at Juventus Stadium fired me up, it’ll be the same if they jeer me.
“I gave Juve so much and they gave me so much. It wasn’t an easy choice for me, because seven years are difficult to close off and forget.
“The rapport had come to an end though, neither party wanted to continue together. I have to say though, that given how it ended we came out well: myself, Juve and Milan."
The Italy international also appeared to hint that his relationship at his former club had taken a turn for the worse in the past 12 months as his future was speculated about at length last summer.
Bonucci had been chased by Manchester City and Chelsea as the Premier Leagues club tried to lure him to the UK, but the defender opted to sign a new contract at the Juventus Stadium instead.
Now that he has moved away from the side he was with for seven years, Bonucci admitted that something had changed in his perception of Juventus before his big-money move to join I Rossoneri.
He added: “Life is made up of cycles which open and close. When you’re part of a group for seven years, you hope to leave something beautiful.
“In the last part of the season the link faded on both sides and we decided to move apart. Something crumbled in recent months, and this change was the consequence of that.
"To give 100 per cent, I need to feel important, something that at Juventus was recently happening only in fits and starts. I couldn’t go with that. Even the most beautiful marriages sometimes end."