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Chelsea transfer target Leonardo Bonucci denies slapping Paulo Dybala during half-time of Champions League final

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Juventus FC v FC Internazionale Milano - Serie A
Pictured: not a slap
Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Chelsea have been re-linked with Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci in the last couple days, and while this potential transfer still has plenty of red flags around it that make it highly unlikely to come to fruition (including Bonucci’s age and his staunch refusal to engage in any of these rumors), if we’re looking for any cracks in that previously unbreakable Juventus wall around him that has made him ungettable, maybe this will get us started.

According to a recent report from La Stampa (via Mail), Bonucci slapped teammate Paulo Dybala at half-time of the Champions League final, in an apparent effort to snap the forward out of whatever funk was causing him to “play within himself”. La Stampa also claims that Bonucci had an argument with fellow defender Andrea Barzagli over the joy Real Madrid were getting through Marcelo down his flank, to which Barzagli fired back by reminding Bonucci that he failed to block Cristiano Ronaldo’s shot for the opening goal.

While heated half-time discussions are no rare sights in the adrenaline-filled environments of dressing rooms, the supposed physical altercation is certainly out of any norm.

La Stampa’s report was sensational enough that yesterday Bonucci released an official statement on his Facebook page denying any and all such nonsense and threatening legal action should he need to further defend his good name and honour.

“None of what was written, talked about or reconstructed is true.”

“With regards to what has been written over the last few days by some media sources regarding supposed rows and verbal clashes that might've involved me and other teammates, I think the time has come to make one thing very clear: There was no argument, let alone physical clashes regarding me or anyone else. The interval between the first and second halves of the UCL Final was an interval like many others were, I repeat, nothing happened.”

“These are the only words I intend to say with regards to this situation and I hope they will be the last. In case they are not sufficient to clarify the situation and establish the truth, I will be ready to ask my lawyers to defend my good name and honourability.”

-Leonardo Bonucci; source: Facebook via Mail

This is the second time in just a few months that Bonucci has been the center of a stir after publicly clashing with head coach Max Allegri in February. There was no denying in that case and Bonucci was unceremoniously dropped by the coach for a game as punishment.

There is plenty of deniability in this case, and we’re certainly inclined to believe the player over some random media report, especially if one side’s willing to get the lawyers involved. Still, all may be not well in the house of Juve and Bonucci, and as we’ve recently seen with Conte and Costa, sometimes these little tells hide bigger truths.

Conclusion: Chelsea’s Bonucci chances have increased 100-fold, from 0.01% to 1%. BOOM.

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