Turin hearts shattered : Juventus centre back Leonardo Bonucci agrees to join rivalsAC Milan
Leonardo Bonucci arrived at AC Milan's headquarters on Friday ahead of a proposed transfer from Juventus.
Bonucci, 30, was greeted by several hundred Milan fans who had been waiting since the Italy defender said goodbye to his teammates in Turin earlier in the day and set off down the A4 motorway to reach the Lombardy capital.
An agreement between the two clubs over a fee believed to be €40 million was reportedly struck in the early hours of the morning, paving the way for one of the most unexpected transfers in recent Serie A history.
Only a few weeks ago, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said that Bonucci would be the "leader of the Juventus dressing room."
That no longer seems the case, however, with Bonucci in Milan for a medical and to discuss personal terms, which could reportedly make him Serie A's highest-paid player amid suggestions of a €7.5m annual contract.
Bonucci has won Serie A in each of the last six seasons with Juve, and also won the league title with Milan's city rivals Inter in 2006.
Bonucci, regarded as one of the best defenders in the world, has not always seen eye to eye with the Juventus manager, Max Allegri, and the pair traded insults during a game against Palermo last season, with the defender subsequently being dropped against Porto. Milan will pay €40m (£35.2m) for the 30-year-old, who has won 70 caps for Italy, and the move continues an incredible summer of investment by the new Chinese owners. They have already spent more than £100m on new players, including André Silva (from Porto, £33.5m), Ricardo Rodriguez (from Wolfsburg, £13.2m), Hakan Calhanoglu (from Bayer Leverkusen, £22m), Andrea Conti (from Atalanta, £21.1m) and Mateo Musacchio (Villarreal, £15m) among others.
Bonucci, who started his career at Milan's city rivals Internazionale, has won the Italian league title six years in a row and claimed the Italian Cup three times in his seven years. He has reached two Champions League finals during his time in Turin, losing both, against Barcelona in 2015 and against Real Madrid last month.
When the news first broke about Bonucci's potential move to AC Milan, Alessandro Del Piero spoke for many Juventus fans when he said: "I thought it was a joke." Milan, meanwhile, get a winner —the best Italian defender the club has had since Alessandro Nesta, worthy of the tradition of Maldini and Baresi. He's someone who can inspire a change in the culture at Milanello, develop Romagnoli, make plays from the back and score goals in big games. Bonucci still has a lot to give, and you have to say Milan's defence —featuring Gianluigi Donnarumma, Andrea Conti and Romagnoli — now contains the building blocks for the national team's back line every bit as much as Juventus' does.