Pep Guardiola has described Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci as one of his favourite players ever.
Juventus fought back from 2-0 down against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night to secure a 2-2 draw in Turin during the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie. Guardiola had praise for several Juventus players in his post-match press conference, though reserved a special mention for one individual in particular.
The Spaniard – who will take over at Manchester City in the summer after three seasons with Bayern – admitted that Leonardo Bonucci, Juve’s central defender, is one of his favourite players ever.
“It was a Champions League game between two good teams, so we’re happy with the performance of my players,” said Guardiola, reports Uefa’s official website. “The result is what it is. I know that in this country the physical condition is the most important aspect, but I really couldn’t care less. We controlled the game well. I couldn’t expect to come here and not allow Juve a shot on goal.
“There are moments when you are up against [Paul] Pogba, [Mario] Mandžukić, [Álvaro] Morata and [Leonardo] Bonucci – one of my all-time favourite players – and [Gianluigi] Buffon, so you can’t expect to come here and dominate for 90 minutes. We performed really well. We tried to win but this is football.”
Bonucci has been an integral part of Juventus’ success in Serie A and in Europe over the past few years. The central defender has helped them to win four consecutive league titles while also picking up the Coppa Italia last season, too.
Juve also reached their first Champions League final in 12 years last year and it was, in part, down to their strong defensive front which is built up of Giorgio Chiellini, Bonucci and Gianluigi Buffon who, as a spine, could rival any defence in world football.
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