Leonardo Bonucci has sent a warning to former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Italy and Portugal facing off in the European World Cup qualifying playoffs.
Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal team could face Leonardo Bonucci and his Euro 2020 title winning Italy for a spot at the December 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
This development comes as a result of both nations finishing in second place in their respective qualifying groups, with Portugal just missing out on direct qualifications on the last day of the qualifying rounds.
Bonucci has told Ronaldo he will “suffer some blows” if the two meet on the international stage.
Italy and Portugal were drawn in the same bracket as Turkey and North Macedonia. Italy will face North Macedonia while Portugal will take on Turkey. The winners of both games will go on to face each other for the only qualifying spot in their bracket.
Both nations are favourites to make it out of the bracket and Bonucci has sent a message to his former teammate to not expect a walk in the park if both nations have to battle it out for the qualifying spot.
Bonucci told Italian outlet Rai Sport: “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, then in March we will meet again and I am convinced that we will play two great matches.”
Portugal to face giant hurdle in playoff bracket
Ronaldo and Bonucci spent three successful years together at Juventus, winning two Serie A titles. Ronaldo will be very familiar with the Italian style of defence having faced off against them in training for Juventus and on the pitch against other Serie A teams.
He will bank on his abilities which led him to score 101 goals in 134 games in Bianconeri colours playing against some of the best Italian defences.
However, they will have to get past the hurdle of Turkey who have proven to be a big obstacle in games like these. If they manage to take down Turkey, Euro 2020 winners Italy will prove an even bigger obstacle.
Ronaldo will no doubt be the main man for Portugal but will also have a plethora of stars to back him up as he seeks to lead the team to what could be his last World Cup and major tournament for his nation.