Italy international Leonardo Bonucci is the right man to lead AC Milan next season, team manager Christian Abbiati has said. The 30-year-old was a surprise arrival at San Siro earlier last month after he decided to end his seven-year association with Serie A champions Juventus last month.
Bonucci had not featured for the Rossoneri’ 3-0 aggregate win over Universitatea Craiova in the Europa League as his transfer was deemed to have not been completed in time. However, the club have since sorted out the necessary formalities and the centre-back looks set to lead the famous old club when they take on Shkëndija in the playoff round of the Europa League.
Bonucci led the Rossoneri during their recent 2-1 defeat at the hands of Spanish club Real Betis and he is set to earn the captain’s armband permanently after manager Vincenzo Montella pledged to give the leadership duties to one of his 10 summer signings.
Speaking to Mediaset television, Abbiati appears to suggest that Bonucci is the right choice to take up the captain’s role due to his vast experience in Italian football, he said: “This armband has a lot of significance and comes with a lot of responsibility. Leo has got the right personality and experience to wear it. This is how the club have decided — they wanted to make one of the new arrivals captain.”
Bonucci was expected to be offered a similar role at former club Juventus, but his departure is likely to see Claudio Marchisio handed the leadership. The Italy international formed a brilliant partnership alongside the likes of Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli in Turin, and he will hope to form a similar bond at his new club with the likes of Alessio Romagnoli and Matteo Musacchio among the most consistent defenders from across Europe. AC Milan paid a fee of just over £35m for Bonucci this summer, and many consider it as a huge bargain, given the massive sums being spent on pursuing defenders – especially in the Premier League.