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Juventus trail SL Benfica 2-1 going into the decisive leg of their UEFA Europa League semi-final tie, but the prospect of playing a final at their Turin home is keeping centre-back Leonardo Bonucci buoyant.
"As a stadium, in Italy there's nothing like it," the 26-year-old told UEFA.com. "It is innovative and it also allows you to be close to the pitch, which I believe is an advantage for the fans who come to watch the game, because you can hear every single sound, be it a word, a touch or a shot. So, as far as Italy is concerned, the Juventus Stadium is years ahead."
In terms of the playing staff, Andrea Pirlo is also years ahead of most at 34, but Bonucci insisted that the Italy international remains a benchmark for his side. "He's a leader – a silent leader, but one who knows how to carry his team through difficult moments. Outside of football, he's a great man and he's been one of the best central midfielders in the world in the history of football."
Being the best is something of a fixation for Juventus, with the Italian champions bent on winning their first major European trophy since the 1995/96 UEFA Champions League. "Since then, we haven't been this close to winning a final, so for us, as I have said, it would be a source of pride," Bonucci noted. "And it would return Juventus to being one of the best teams in Europe."
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