Cristiano Ronaldo: Leonardo Bonucci takes swipe at Man Utd star ahead of WC play-offs

Cristiano Ronaldo: Leonardo Bonucci takes swipe at Man Utd star ahead of WC play-offs

Veteran Italian defender Leonardo Bonucci has had plenty to say about former Juventus colleague Cristiano Ronaldo in recent weeks.

Now, with the pair’s respective nations seemingly on a collision course to decide which of them qualifies for next year’s World Cup in Qatar, Bonucci has aimed more verbal barbs at the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

For Bonucci’s Italy and Ronaldo’s Portugal, the play-offs now represent the last remaining route for both to secure a place at international football’s most prestigious tournament.

However, we know for certain that at least one of the two countries will miss out on Qatar 2022. 

The semi-final line-up for the playoffs sees Italy take on North Macedonia, while Portugal face Turkey. The winners of those two ties will then meet to determine who advances to the World Cup.

That final is widely expected to be an Italy vs Portugal affair – a view Bonucci shares.

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Speaking to Rai Sport, per the Daily Mail, the 34-year-old admitted he was fully expecting to lock horns with Ronaldo in the crucial deciding contest next year. 

“I heard Cristiano Ronaldo and we joked about the possible Portugal vs Italy match, we’ll see what happens on the pitch, Cristiano knows he will suffer some blows.

“We have to concentrate on what we will do on the pitch [in the semi-final], then in March we will meet again and I am convinced that we will play two great matches,” declared Bonucci.

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While his words towards Ronaldo might appear in jest, Bonucci took a swipe at the Portugal captain back in October.

Confirming to Sky Italia that it was “absolutely true” that Juventus were “more of team” following Ronaldo’s deadline day departure for Manchester United, it doesn’t seem like there’s any love lost between the two former teammates – at least on Bonucci’s part!

A place at the World Cup – which will take place between from November 21 to December 18 next year – clearly means a great deal to Bonucci on a personal level, as well as a professional one.

Ronaldo and Bonucci were formerly teammates at Juventus

“I want to give a gift to my children who have never seen Italy at the World Cup,” he admitted.

“The European Championship was all fantastic, we are aware that we have done something very important. But now let’s put the past aside and focus on the next match between Italy and North Macedonia in Palermo.”

“My son is excited, going to play in Sicily means a lot to us and I’m sure many fans will be waiting for us,” Bonucci concluded. 

Each of the play-off semi-final matches will take place on March 24, 2022 – with the finals to be played five days later. It promises to be an absorbing stretch of international football.

Anthony Martial confirms Man Utd exit (Via The Football Terrace)

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