World superstar hails Antonio Conte and Reignites Transfer Speculations

Leonardo Bonucci has hailed Antonio Conte for transforming his game but has ruled out joining his former boss at Chelsea.

Bonucci worked under Conte with both Juventus and Italy for five years before the manager made his move to England over the summer.

The current Blues chief helped turn around the Old Lady’s fortunes following their struggles between 2006 and 2011.

And the pair went on to win three Serie A titles together during Conte’s time at the Juventus Stadium.

Star centre-back Bonucci has thanked Conte for breathing new life into his career and for getting Juve back among Europe’s best teams.

He told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “Antonio Conte has transformed me from a technical and tactical level.

“He has transformed us all at Juve.

“He took a team from seventh place to a team who has won three consecutive championships.”

Conte has been heavily linked with a move for Bonucci ever since he took over at Chelsea.

But the 29-year-old defender put an end to any speculation over his future by signing a new long-term deal with Juve earlier this month.

Asked he could join Conte at Chelsea before he retires, he joked: “I want to become a legend here at Juve.”

Bonucci joined Juventus from Italian side Bari for £11m in July 2010.

He has since made over 290 appearances for the club and become one of the finest defenders in the world.

Thibaut Courtois says back-to-back losses reason for massive turnaround

English Premier League (EPL) leaders Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois feels the capital football club’s record winning streak started with back-to-back league losses in September.

Antonio Conte’s side beat Bournemouth 3-0 on Monday to make it 12 EPL wins in a row. They moved nine points provisionally clear at the top.

“We knew that maybe our mentality was not right in those two games we lost against Liverpool and Arsenal. They were tough games and we didn’t have the same intensity as Arsenal or Liverpool. If you don’t put the same intensity in as the other side, you will not win that kind of game,” Courtois was quoted as saying by the Daily Star.

“So that’s why we talked as a team about making a step up at that point, because we didn’t want to have the same season as last year. We needed to step up and that’s what we did. Obviously with the current run of wins of course we would say we are doing maybe better than expected after a bad season last year,” he added.

However, the Belgian international felt that they still need to keep working hard in order to finish at the top at the season-end.

“We are top of the league with more points than we had after this many games when we were champions two years ago,” he said.

“So that says we are doing well, but we have to keep on working hard and fighting a lot against the teams who defend more and are hard to break down. We will try to do our best and keep the run going.”

Next up for Conte’s side is the visit of Stoke City on New Year’s Eve.

After 18 games Chelsea are on 46 points, seven clear of second-placed Manchester City who have played the same number of matches.

Hazard: Chelsea out to make Premier League history

Eden Hazard has set his sights on making history as Premier League-leading Chelsea look to continue their winning streak.

Chelsea claimed a club-record 12th successive top-flight victory with a 3-0 victory over Bournemouth on Monday.

Hazard scored a penalty in the comprehensive win as Chelsea continued their Premier League title charge, with the Londoners six points clear atop the table.

And Hazard warned Chelsea’s rivals that the high-flying leaders have no plans to slow down.

“We feel good. We are full of confidence. We take game after game and try to win every game,” Hazard said ahead of Saturday’s visit of Stoke City.

“We don’t look at records but if we can make history in this club we will. It’s not only about Chelsea, this league.

“This league is very difficult. Every game we try to win. But now the opponents try to give everything because they want to be first. Now we are first and everyone wants to beat us.”

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