Italy international defender Leonardo Bonucci took out a page in a local newspaper yesterday to thank Juventus fans for their support after agreeing a shock move to rivals AC Milan. Bonucci, 30, is joining Milan on a five-year deal after seven seasons in Turin, where he won six successive Serie A titles with Juventus and played in two Champions League finals.
“Seven seasons have gone by. Seven seasons of victories, of dreams achieved, of maturity gained thanks to this exceptional bond with Juve,” Bonucci wrote in the Gazzetta dello Sport daily. “I truly always gave everything until the end. I have received, given and learned. And what I see today, looking back, is a splendid story worthy of ending in full respect and affection, without questioning anything I went through with the club, the captain, my colleagues and the fans,” he added.
Bonucci’s arrival in Milan comes after heavy investment from the seven-time Europeans champions following the sale of the club by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to a Chinese consortium in April.
Milan came sixth in Serie A last season, the club’s highest finish since the 2012-13 campaign, and are plotting a return to the Champions League after a four-year exile.
I’m no Klopp clone: Dortmund coach
New Borussia Dortmund coach Peter Bosz promised to do things his way after his side beat Japan’s Urawa Reds 3-2 to begin their Far East preseason tour yesterday. Germany forward Andre Schurrle smashed a late winner as Dortmund gave the Dutchman his first win since taking over from Thomas Tuchel last month.
Asked if he would try to bring back the “heavy metal football” Dortmund played under former coach Jurgen Klopp, Bosz gave a quizzical look. “Klopp is a great manager but what’s important as a coach is what players you have at your disposal,” he told reporters.
“I want to play an offensive style of football,” added Bosz, who led Ajax to last season’s Europa League final. “It’s important to win but also to play the sort of football that fans enjoy watching.”
Bosz cut a forlorn figure in Dortmund’s 3-2 humbling by fourth-tier Rot-Weiss Essen in their opening pre-season game earlier this week but his side looked sharper against Urawa despite the balmy heat in Saitama.
Dortmund, who face a summer bidding war for striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with Chelsea and Liverpool reportedly the front-runners for the Gabon hitman’s signature, play AC Milan in Guangzhou on Tuesday.
Terry named Aston Villa captain
Former long-serving Chelsea captain John Terry was named Aston Villa’s new skipper yesterday after joining the second-tier side following his departure from Chelsea. Terry, 36, replaces Wales international and fellow central defender James Chester as Villa captain having signed a one-year deal with the club earlier this month. Terry was to wear the armband for the first time in a pre-season friendly against third-division Shrewsbury Town late last night. The ex-England defender left Chelsea at the end of last season after 22 years at Stamford Bridge, where he won five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the 2012 Champions League.
Sheringham joins ISL as coach
Former England and Manchester United striker Teddy Sheringham has joined Indian Super League champions Atletico de Kolkata as head coach for the new season. Sheringham, who made 51 England appearances between 1993 and 2002, joins another United hero Steve Coppell as a coach in India.
Kolkata believe Sheringham’s experience with United, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur will help the team as they seek a third ISL title in four seasons. Sheringham, 51, said he was “excited to be joining ATK and can’t wait to get started”.
Coppell meanwhile left last year’s runners up Kerala Blasters this week and will coach Jamshedpur to prepare for the new season in October. Kerala have picked another Manchester United veteran, former assistant coach Rene Meulensteen, as their new boss. The ISL, which will be in its fourth season, will grow to 10 teams this year.
Australia to play 'pivotal' World Cup qualifier in Melbourne
Australia's crucial final World Cup qualifying match against Thailand on Sept. 5 has been confirmed for Melbourne's Rectangular Stadium, football Federation Australia said. The Socceroos are currently third in Asian Group B for the finals next year in Russia on 16 points, one behind leaders Japan and on the same points as second-placed Saudi Arabia, who have a better goal difference.
The top two sides in each of the two groups in the third round of Asia qualifying will advance directly to the finals in Russia. The two third placed teams then play each other for a spot in an intercontinental playoff.
Ange Postecoglou's side, whose penultimate match is against Japan in Saitama on Aug. 31, are likely to have to beat the winless Thais, and comfortably, in Melbourne to seal one of the automatic qualifying places.
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