Leonardo Bonucci has accepted the challenge of changing the opinions of critical Juventus fans following his controversial return from AC Milan.
The defender left Juve for Milan a year ago, claiming “the bond had faded” in Turin, but a difficult season with the Rossoneri led to a move back to the Serie A champions as Mattia Caldara and Gonzalo Higuain headed the other way.
Addressing the media as he was again presented as a Juventus player, Bonucci acknowledged that the supporters have a right to feel angry.
“I wanted to return to Juventus because I missed my home,” he said. “I thank the club, the manager and my agent for enabling me to be back here again.
“I want to raise my game again and make up for the time away. I know that I need to give my response on the pitch, showing that sacrifice and hunger to win.
“My relationship with [Massimiliano] Allegri is an excellent one. We crossed paths several times last year and we shook hands upon my return to Juventus.
“I’ve understood that the decisions made in anger are not the right ones, but I have the fortune to be back home where I feel I belong.
“I understand the fans, I respect them. I’ll accept the whistling and booing. It’s up to me to transform that all into applause.
“Juventus have been everything to me over the years. I grew up a lot here and the club always supported me. I left a year ago with a handshake and hug with the president.
“Now I feel like I’ve grown as a man in this year. I need to kick on again as a footballer. I have the fortune of playing with world-class stars. I’ll defend the Bianconeri colours as I did before.”