Leonardo Bonucci Sends Savage Warning To Cristiano Ronaldo Ahead Of Potential Italy-Portugal World Cup Play-Off
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The two nations, the last two European Championship winners, could end up facing one another in the final of the play-offs.
Both failed to qualify automatically after finishing second in their respective groups and will now head to the play-off phase, with Portugal playing Turkey and Italy meeting North Macedonia.
As overwhelming favourites, it's expected that Italy and Portugal will meet in the final and Bonucci believes his old Juventus teammate Ronaldo will have some rough treatment to deal if that is the case.
"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," he told Rai Sport, as per the Daily Mail.
"We have to concentrate on what we will do on the pitch, then in March we will meet again and I am convinced that we will play two great matches."
Bonucci was in fine form alongside his regular defensive partner Giorgio Chiellini as Italy went all the way at Euro 2020 in the summer, beating England on penalties in the final at Wembley.
He is desperate for Roberto Mancini's side to feature in Qatar for the sake of his children.
He added: "I want to give a gift to my children who have never seen Italy at the World Cup.
"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."
Bonucci has praised Ronaldo but also spoke negatively in the summer following his departure.
At Juventus, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner scored 101 goals in 134 appearances after joining from Real Madrid in 2018.
He also won two Serie A titles before leaving to return to Manchester United in the summer.
But Bonucci believes his exit is a blessing in disguise as he felt Juventus lost a bit of their "spirit" when he was in Turin.
"Ronaldo made a choice that we respected," Bonucci told Amazon Prime Sport.
"Last year the team played for him, now the group must rediscover that Juve spirit that was there before his arrival."
In a different interview, the former AC Milan defender said it is "absolutely true" that the Bianconeri are more of a team without Ronaldo.