'Ronaldo presented himself in perfect condition' - Bonucci in awe of Juventus team-mate on return from lockdown


Leonardo Bonucci has admitted to being in awe of Cristiano Ronaldo's physique upon his return from lockdown, insisting the Juventus forward has "presented himself in perfect condition".

Italian football has been suspended since March 9 due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused 402,561 deaths worldwide to date.

Players and staff members from clubs across Serie A were forced to self-isolate in accordance with new government legislation regarding social distancing for two months, but restrictions are now beginning to ease amid a significant drop in Covid-19 cases.

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Juventus are now gearing up for a return to the pitch on June 12 after being cleared to resume full-contact training, with a Coppa Italia semi-final second leg tie against Milan on the cards.

Bonucci says Ronaldo reported for duty in the same exemplary shape he was in before the hiatus. He told Gazzetta dello Sport: "How did I find him? How I left him.

"He is a super athlete, a great professional. He told me what he did to keep fit during the quarantine. He presented himself in perfect condition. He cannot amaze, he is a champion, from all points of view."

Cristiano Ronaldo Leonardo Bonucci Juventus Verona
Cristiano Ronaldo Leonardo Bonucci Juventus Verona

Bonucci has also been a star turn in Juve's starting line up since returning to the club from Milan in the summer of 2018, playing a key role in the club's march towards an eighth successive Serie A crown last season.

His performances in defence have helped the Bianconeri fight for a domestic double and Champions League success this time around, and he is delighted to be back with his "family" after a difficult spell at San Siro.

The 33-year-old admits that he rushed into his decision to leave Juve following their 2017 European Cup final defeat at the hands of Real Madrid, but insists that the whole experience helped shape his character.

"It was a difficult year for me. Both on a personal and working level," said Bonucci. "There had been disagreements and I, in the end, especially after the defeat in the Champions League, made an unpolished decision - but I have to say that that choice, that it certainly influenced my career, it improved me as a man.

"Those months at Milan allowed me to look inside and understand that my place was in Juventus, in this one that I feel like my family. I met beautiful people at Milan before among these Rino Gattuso. It was a difficult year, but not in vain. At the end of which I was very happy to go home. "

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