The case for Leonardo Bonucci as the Player of the Tournament at Euro 2020

Gavin Cooney, Shane Keegan and David Sneyd joined Paul Dollery on today’s episode of The Football Family.

mondadori-lifestyle-collection-july-11-2021 Leonardo Bonucci played a vital role in Italy's triumph at Euro 2020. Source: Massimo Insabato

WITH THE TOURNAMENT now in the history books, we selected a potent front-three for the last episode of our Euro 2020 series of The Football Family podcast with Paul Dollery.

As Gavin Cooney, Shane Keegan and David Sneyd dissected Italy’s triumph over England in the final, among the various topics addressed was the importance of Italy’s much-loved centre-back partnership of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.

Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma picked up the official Player of the Tournament award, but all three of the lads unanimously agreed that Bonucci would have been a worthy winner.

“If you were going to pick one player to sum that Italy team up it probably would be Chiellini, but Bonucci was absolutely outstanding,” said Gav.

“One thing that Bonucci doesn’t get enough credit for – because we regard him as a typical, old-school, Italian centre-half – is that his distribution on the ball is absolutely sensational. Chiellini is not so good, but Bonucci’s passing range is unbelievable. It’s kind of [Virgil] van Dijk level, I think.

“He obviously scored the equalising goal and I know Donnarumma got Player of the Tournament, but because Italy were such a good collective and [Leonardo] Spinazzola didn’t play the semi-final or the final, it’s hard to pick a Player of the Tournament from there, but I would actually have given it to Bonucci. 

“He played in all of the games, he scored the goal in the final and he was just as good defensively as his old pal Chiellini.

“He then spent the rest of the night trolling England, roaring ‘It’s coming to Rome!’ down the camera and then sipping on a beer in the post-match press conference, saying: ‘We’ve heard It’s Coming Home every minute of every day, but now we have to tell you that it’s going to enjoy a nice flight to Rome instead.’

“Trolling the English nation throughout the night probably earns him another couple of points.”

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Of the Juventus defender, Shane added: “Just brilliant. As Gav said, he actually played the best pass of the night last night. That ball over the top, what a pass that was – absolutely fantastic. Just everything about him.

“Should you really factor how a guy celebrates into whether he’s Player of the Tournament? Yes, you should! It’s just part of the brilliance of him throughout the tournament.”

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