Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci is hoping that successful performances with regular game time in the Bundesliga will earn him a place at the Euro 2024 Championship.
Bonucci joined Union Berlin on deadline day of the summer transfer window from Italian giants Juventus after making over 500 appearances for the club.
The 36-year-old made his Union Berlin debut last week in the Champions League where his side lost in a narrow 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.
He then made his Bundesliga debut on Saturday in a 2-0 loss at home to Hoffenheim in which Bonucci conceded a penalty, but the Italian is still optimistic and is aware of the difficulties he will face playing in another country.
“It’s difficult but I know that we’ll improve,” said Bonucci, via AP, who describes the Bundesliga as ‘completely different’ to Serie A due to defenders needing to cover more space in Germany.
“This is the most difficult thing for defending because you need to attack the striker, otherwise you need to cover.
“You need to read the situation very well because you have opponents like Boniface who are very, very speedy.”
As well as looking to maintain Union Berlin’s success in the Bundesliga this season, Bonucci also has his sights set on Euro 2024 with his national side and is hoping that consistent game time with his new club will earn him a spot in the Italian lineup for the Euros.
Euro 2024 will be hosted in Germany and Bonucci will have a whole year of experience in the country to prepare for this.
Conversations were had with new Italy manager Luciano Spalletti about gaining further caps with the national team.
“He said to me that I need to play a lot of games to be in the squad,” said Bonucci. “I think that I have the opportunity to play a lot of games to be in the squad.”
GGFN | Matthew Gritton