Leonardo Bonucci explained part of the approach he intends to implement against Romelu Lukaku when Juventus face Chelsea tonight.

Speaking to The Athletic, Bonucci gave some insight into how best to cope with the Belgian international.

Juve’s veteran defender will likely be tasked the mission of manhandling Lukaku directly later today.

Juventus Training Session & Press Conference
(Photo by Daniele Badolato – Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images)

If the Blues are to claim all three Champions League points in Turin, their centre-forward must avoid the attentions of his markers.

Which is certainly not straightforward.

Bonucci and his partner in crime, Giorgio Chiellini, have refined the craft of reducing opponents to limited chances.

Their skills were on show for the world to see during the European Championships, where Italy counted on the pair of centurions to stand firm.

During the run to the final, both centre-backs came up against Lukaku in the quarters.

Belgium v Italy - UEFA Euro 2020 - Quarter-final
(Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Although the striker got on the scoresheet, it was the Azzuri duo who ultimately came out on top.

It’s time for round two this evening – and Bonucci is certainly expecting a tough test.

Bonucci on the ball

“Romelu Lukaku has proven himself to be a complete striker,” said Bonucci.

“He can win games on his own. When you come up against him you have to be switched on for 100 minutes a game.


“Unfortunately for us defenders, we can’t disengage our brains even for 10 seconds because those 10 seconds might be lethal.

(Photo by MATTHIAS HANGST/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“You must never engage Lukaku in a physical battle or play touch-tight.

“Instead, be ready to drop off because when his team has the ball, he will try to run in behind.

“In the box, he’s great at playing man-to-man so you need to be on the front foot, try to read the game and play hard.

“If you let him take up a position and he gets ahead of you, you won’t be able to step out and anticipate what’s coming.”

Romelu’s Juve redemption

Although Bonucci makes it sound pretty simple, stopping Lukaku is never effortless.

Chelsea FC v Zenit St. Petersburg: Group H - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

He is already on four goals for the term and will be eager to build upon his European tally.

Taking down Juve should be an extra incentive to score again, considering he spent two seasons battling the Old Lady in Serie A.

In the Italian first division, the 28-year-old came across Bonucci and his cronies on numerous occasions.

FC Internazionale v Juventus - Serie A
(Photo by Claudio Villa – Inter/Inter via Getty Images )

Six times Lukaku has challenged the black and white stripes – once with Manchester United – with only one goal to show for it.

Maybe Bonucci really does have the no.9’s number?

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