Leanardo Bonucci has doubled down on his previous claims that Cristiano Ronaldo's presence was harmful to Juventus.

The two players were teammates during Ronaldo's three-year stay in Turin, during which time they won two Serie A titles together.

Ronaldo finished as Juve's top scorer in both title-winning campaigns while also collecting the division's Golden Boot in his final season.

But despite his goalscoring prowess, veteran defender Bonucci feels Juve were hamstrung by catering to the Portuguese superstar's needs and hinted they will now be better off without him.

“Ronaldo made a choice that we respected,” Bonucci told reporters, via Football Italia. “Last year the team played for him, now the group must rediscover that Juve spirit that was there before his arrival.”

Leonardo Bonucci has urged Juventus to find their spirit after Cristiano Ronaldo's departure (

Image:

NurPhoto/PA Images)

Juventus are currently sitting in seventh in the Serie A table having already registered two defeats in their opening eight fixtures.

So far this season no Juventus player has scored more than two goals in the league, leaving them without a representative in the top 20 in the division.

Speaking to The Athletic last month, Bonucci explained: "This was the thing, the idea that one player, even the best in the world, could guarantee Juventus victory.

"Cristiano’s presence had a big influence on us. Just training with him gave us something extra but subconsciously players started to think his presence alone was enough to win games.

"We began to fall a little short in our daily work, the humility, the sacrifice, the desire to be there for your team-mate day after day. Over the last few years, I think you could see that."

The honeymoon period following Ronaldo's return to Manchester United already appears to be fading and Gary Neville has pinpointed issues the club are already having with catering for the striker.

He explained how United's current situation was not really any different to their Champions League-winning side of 2008.

Do you think United would be better off without Ronaldo? Have your say below.

The gloss of Ronaldo's return to United is gradually wearing off (

Image:

Action Images via Reuters)

" Cristiano Ronaldo needs players around him who are going to work really hard defensively," he said on The Gary Neville Podcast earlier this month.

"That was the same in 2008 by the way. In 2008, Ji-Sung Park, Darren Fletcher and Owen Hargreaves, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez, they all worked like trojans to make up for Cristiano in terms of what he was doing.

"I was watching [the games against Everton and Villarreal] thinking if Cristiano is playing you have to put players in and around him who will forgive the fact he isn't going to press from the front, he isn't going to run hard, he isn't going to close people down.

"You're almost carrying a player when you're out of possession. But we were 10-12 years ago but you forgive that because of his greatness and his ability to win games."

Ronaldo's body language in the defeat to Leicester at the weekend has come under scrutiny, but boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended his player.

"We have got 11 players out there with different roles," Solskjaer said.

"We put a team out we think will win a game, if we don't win there will always be criticism — he [Ronaldo] is doing everything he can to help the team."

Read More Read More