The arrival of nine-time Serie A champion Leonardo Bonucci at Union Berlin in the summer transfer window caused a stir with the Italian and Juventus legend still quite the coup even at the age of 36. Union were preparing for a debut Champions League campaign and the signing seemed a real statement. Just months later and the deal has turned sour with the defender exiting to Turkey with Fenerbahce.
Arriving with a big reputation as a world class centre back, Bonucci managed just six starts for die Eisernen and was wholly unable to bring his qualities to help the Berlin club as they suffered an appalling run of form in the Bundesliga Hinrunde and the Champions League.
Bonucci signed on a free having fallen out with Juve coach Massimo Allegri, but arrived in the German capital having missed the entire pre-season preparation and not fully fit. Niggling aches and pains didn’t help, but he was on the losing side in all six of his Bundesliga starts, made little in the way of a positive impression and his only really noteworthy display came against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. He scored one goal- a penalty in the 4-2 defeat to Borussia Dortmund on matchday 7.
“I certainly came to Union last summer with different expectations,” said Bonucci looking back on his time in Berlin. “Despite the sporting setbacks, it was an extraordinary time for me. Union really are a special club with a lot of closeness and solidarity. I would like to thank everyone at Union and wish them all the best for the future.”
Football director Oliver Ruhnert had some positive parting words for the player, even though his four-month sojourn at the Alten Försterei didn’t pan out as planned. “Leonardo didn’t get the playing time he had hoped for with us. Nevertheless, he always remained positive and put his personality and experience at the service of the team. We understand his desire to move, which is why we have granted him his request. We wish him all the best and every success at Fenerbahçe and will remember him as a great sportsman.”
An initial move to Roma had been rumoured, but that fell through when the Giallorossi fans made their feelings perfectly clear about not wanting the former Juventus man. Julius Caesar ‘came, saw, and conquered’. Bonucci just ‘came, sat on the bench and then left’.