The veteran defender has confirmed that he is ready to call it quits after years of service for the Old Lady.

Juventus captain Leonardo Bonucci has announced that he is preparing to retire from professional football. The 36-year-old center-back has confirmed the he will bid the beautiful game farewell at the conclusion of next season, marking the end of an era for the Italian veteran.

In an interview with the official Juventus website, Bonucci expressed his pride in his longstanding association with the Bianconeri and expressed hope that future generations of young defenders at the club would consider him and his teammates as worthy of emulating. He said: "Next year I will stop playing and I think an era will end. For me it is a pride to have been there, I hope one day many young players from the Juventus defence will consider us as idols."

Bonucci's impending retirement will undoubtedly solidify Juventus' sense of transition, following the departure of fellow stalwart Giorgio Chiellini at the end of the previous season. The Italian defender is currently in a second spell with the Bianconeri, with his first tenure coming to an end when he departed for Milan. However, he returned to Turin after a single season, as part of a deal that involved Gonzalo Higuain and Mattia Caldara.  

This season, the 38-year-old has been plagued by recurring injuries. Having recently made a remarkable comeback to the pitch after another spell out, he sustained another injury during the Europa League match against Sevilla. Nevertheless, the 34-year-old defender has reached a significant milestone, making his 500th appearance for Juventus, thus cementing his place among the club's legendary figures.

Over the years, Bonucci's presence on the field and his leadership off it have been instrumental in shaping the club's success. Come the end of next season, he will retire with nine Serie A, four Coppa Italia, five Supercoppa Italiana and two more UEFA Champions League runners-up medals.

On the international scene, he was a prominent figure for Italy, earning an impressive 120 caps for the national team. He represented The Azzurri in two FIFA World Cups (2010 and 2014), three European Championships (2012, 2016, and 2020), and a FIFA Confederations Cup (2013). 

His international career reached its pinnacle when he played a crucial role in Italy's triumph at Euro 2020, securing the prestigious championship. Additionally, Bonucci attained a runners-up medal at Euro 2012 and a third-place medal at the 2013 Confederations Cup.