Daniele Bonera

Daniele Bonera, Ufficiale OMRI (Italian pronunciation: [daˈnjɛːle boˈnɛːra]; born 31 May 1981) is an Italian retired footballer who played as a centre back. He is currently working as an assistant coach at A.C. Milan.

Daniele Bonera
Bonera with Milan in 2012
Personal information
Full name Daniele Bonera[1]
Date of birth (1981-05-31) 31 May 1981 (age 39)
Place of birth Brescia, Italy
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Position(s) Centre back
Club information
Current team
Milan (assistant)
Youth career
1995–1999 Brescia
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1999–2002 Brescia 60 (0)
2002–2006 Parma 114 (1)
2006–2015 Milan 152 (0)
2015–2019 Villarreal 40 (0)
Total 366 (1)
National team
2001–2004 Italy U21 29 (0)
2004 Italy U23 5 (0)
2001–2008 Italy 16 (0)
Teams managed
2019– Milan (assistant)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 4 July 2019

Prior to joining Spanish Villareal in 2015, with whom he retired in 2019, he had previously played for Italian clubs Brescia, Parma, and in particular Milan, where he won several titles, including the 2010–11 Serie A and the 2006–07 UEFA Champions League.

At international level, he represented the Italy national football team on 16 occasions; he also won the 2004 UEFA European Under-21 Championship with the Italy national under-21 football team, as well as a bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Club career


Bonera signed for Brescia in 1995 and played at the youth teams of Brescia until the end of 1998–99 season, where he made his first team debut for Brescia in 1999–2000. He played a total of 72 games in his three seasons with Brescia.[2]


Bonera signed for Parma in July 2002. He played 32 Serie A games and scored a goal during his first season at Parma in 2002–03. In his following three seasons with Parma, he played 98 games of which 82 were in the Serie A. On 28 July 2006, Bonera moved to Milan[2] in a 3.3 million transfer deal.[3]


Bonera in action for Milan and chasing down the striker Roberto Muzzi of Torino

Bonera's UEFA Champions League came against Belgian side Anderlecht on 17 October 2006, in which he received a red card after receiving a second yellow in the 47th minute for what, in the referee's view, was petulantly kicking the ball away as Anderlecht waited to take a free kick. After struggling at right back, Bonera was moved to centre back after several defenders were injured, and after the acquisition of Massimo Oddo from Lazio in January, a natural right back. Bonera slotted in well at centre back, becoming one of Milan's better players. However, he struggled with a niggling injury in the second half of the 2008–09 season, joining Alessandro Nesta and Kakha Kaladze on the treatment table. In September 2009, he signed a contract extension which will last until 2013.[4]

Mesut Özil and Daniele Bonera during the match between Real Madrid and Milan

After a ten-month injury lay-off, Bonera made a successful 45-minute comeback against Novara in the Coppa Italia on 13 January 2010. Because of Milan's great central defensive partnership of Alessandro Nesta and Thiago Silva, Bonera was deployed at his former position, right back. He slotted in well, playing much better in that position than when he first joined Milan. Because of this, Bonera became Milan's starting right back, but when Gianluca Zambrotta, Luca Antonini and Massimo Oddo all returned from injury, he lost his starting place in the position. When Nesta once again found himself on the treatment table, however, coach Leonardo chose Bonera to fill in for him in central defence.

On 23 May 2013, amid speculation of a move to Juventus, Bonera signed a new contract with Milan until 30 June 2015. During these two years, he mainly played as a backup player to first-choice centre-backs Philippe Mexès and Alex.


At the end of his deal with Milan in the summer of 2015, Bonera was released and was linked with a move to newly promoted Carpi,[5] though he instead joined La Liga club Villarreal.[6] On 9 July 2019, after spending four seasons at the club as a backup option, he announced his retirement.[7]

Coaching career

On 9 July 2019 Bonera was announced as part of Marco Giampaolo's new coaching staff at A.C. Milan, rejoining the club as an assistant coach.[8]

He was confirmed also following the appointment of Stefano Pioli as new head coach. On November 2020, after both Pioli and assistant Giacomo Murelli were diagnosed positive for COVID-19, Bonera acted as interim head coach for the club on a temporary basis.[9]

International career

At youth level, Bonera was capped for both the 2002 and 2004 UEFA European Under-21 Championships. He also played at the 2000 Toulon Tournament. He was capped 34 times at U-21 international level.[10]

Bonera has been capped 16 times for the Italian senior team between 2001 and 2008.[10] After he made his senior debut under Giovanni Trapattoni on 5 September 2001, in a 1–0 win against Morocco,[11] he made his non-friendly debut under Marcello Lippi in a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier.[10]

He was called up to 2006 FIFA World Cup squad as one of the four emergency reserve players,[12] but after Gianluca Zambrotta was confirmed to be fit, Bonera was excluded from the final 23-man squad and sent home.[13]

After the 2006 World Cup, he was re-called for the first time under new manager Roberto Donadoni, ahead of the UEFA Euro 2008 qualifier against Scotland, a match scheduled for 28 March 2007.[14] However, he had to withdraw due to injury.[15] In October and November 2007, he was called up again.[16][17] He played in a 2–0 friendly win against future 2010 FIFA World Cup hosts South Africa with an experimental Italy squad,[18] and also came on as a substitute for Fabio Cannavaro in a 3–1 home win in a Euro 2008 qualifier against the Faroe Islands.[19] He was not selected for Euro 2008.[20]

After Marcello Lippi became Italy coach for the second time, Bonera was re-called in Lippi's first few matches,[21][22] but was later left out of his squad due to injury.[23] After the injury, Bonera was called up to the last friendly before the formal announcement of Italy's 2010 World Cup squad, against Cameroon.[24][25] However, he failed to enter both the preliminary World Cup squad on 11 May and the training camp on 4–5 May.[26]

Style of play

Usually deployed as a centre-back, in his prime, Bonera was known for his pace, physical strength, and versatility as a defender, and was also capable of playing as a full back on either side of the pitch.[27][28]

Personal life

Daniele Bonera is married to Paola Bonera.[29] Bonera has one child with his wife, a daughter, Talita Bonera.[30]

Career statistics


Club statistics
Club Season League Cup Continental Other Total
Division AppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
Brescia 1999–2000 Serie B500050
2000–01 Serie A26040300
2001–02 290404[lower-alpha 1]0370
Total 6008040720
Parma 2002–03 Serie A321204[lower-alpha 1]0381
2003–04 240005[lower-alpha 1]0290
2004–05 3501010[lower-alpha 1]0460
2005–06 2300000230
Total 1141301901361
Milan 2006–07 Serie A250506[lower-alpha 2]0360
2007–08 210106[lower-alpha 2]01[lower-alpha 3]0290
2008–09 180004[lower-alpha 1]0220
2009–10 70202[lower-alpha 2]0110
2010–11 160103[lower-alpha 2]0200
2011–12 200306[lower-alpha 2]000290
2012–13 130004[lower-alpha 2]0170
2013–14 160004[lower-alpha 2]0200
2014–15 16010170
Total 1520130350102010
Villarreal 2015–16 La Liga140002[lower-alpha 1]0160
2016–17 60103[lower-alpha 1]0100
2017–18 150105[lower-alpha 1]0210
2018–19 50303[lower-alpha 1]0110
Total 40050130580
Career total 3661290710104671
  1. Appearances in UEFA Europa League
  2. Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  3. Appearances in Italian Supercup


National teamClubLeagueSeasonAppsGoals
Italy[10]BresciaSerie A2001–0220
ParmaSerie A2002–0310
MilanSerie A2007–0830







4th Class / Officer: Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana: (2004)[34]


  1. "Comunicato Ufficiale N. 28" [Official Press Release No. 28] (PDF) (in Italian). Lega Serie A. 19 August 2011. p. 2. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  2. Carminati, Nadia (28 July 2006). "Milan bag Bonera". Sky Sports. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  3. "AC Milan 2006 Annual Report" (PDF) (in Italian). A.C. Milan. April 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 April 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  4. "Bonera boost for Milan". PA. 6 June 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  5. "Carpi to swoop for Bonera". PA. 26 August 2015.
  6. Armen Bedakian (1 September 2015). "Daniele Bonera makes Villarreal switch from AC Milan". The Score. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  7. "Despedida de Daniele Bonera" [Daniele Bonera's farewell] (in Spanish). Villarreal CF. 9 July 2019. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  8. "Official: Bonera joins Milan staff | Football Italia". www.football-italia.net. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  9. "Former AC Milan Defender Daniele Bonera Will Coach The Team This Weekend Against Napoli". The Offside. 18 November 2020. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  10. "Bonera, Daniele" (in Italian). FIGC. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  11. "L'Italia stenta con il Marocco". RaiSport (in Italian). 5 September 2001. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  12. "Lippi ha fiducia, nonostante tutto Convocato Buffon: "E' sereno"". La Repubblica (in Italian). 15 May 2006. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  13. Fudge, Simon (11 June 2006). "Azzurri release Bonera". Sky Sports. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  14. Menicucci, Paolo (18 March 2007). "Uncapped duo handed Italy chance". UEFA. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  15. Buckingham, Mark (23 March 2007). "Italy drop four from squad". Sky Sports. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  16. Menicucci, Paolo (7 October 2007). "Montolivo earns Italy call-up". UEFA. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  17. Menicucci, Paolo (11 November 2007). "Palladino in, Del Piero out for Italy". UEFA. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  18. "Lucarelli, due gol nel finale e l'Italia batte il Sudafrica". La Repubblica (in Italian). 17 October 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  19. "Azzurri in relax, 3-1 alle Far Oer Inizia l'avventura Euro 2008". La Repubblica (in Italian). 21 November 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  20. "Italy squad for Euro 2008". The Guardian. 28 May 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  21. Radaelli, Roberta (16 August 2008). "Gilardino leads list of Lippi recalls". UEFA. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  22. "Lippi welcomes back Buffon and Pirlo". Agence France-Presse. 7 February 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  23. Sergio Zanca (28 June 2010). "Prandelli pensa a un'ItalBrescia: non-solo Pirlo e Balotelli in corsa". Brescia Oggi (in Italian). Archived from the original on 28 October 2017. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  24. "Amichevole Italia-Camerun. Tre le novità di Lippi: Sirigu, Bonucci e Cossu". FIGC (in Italian). 28 February 2010. Archived from the original on 3 March 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  25. "Italy: Borriello and three newcomers". Football Italia. 28 February 2010. Archived from the original on 3 March 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  26. "Verso il Mondiale. Ventinove Azzurri convocati per lo stage di Roma". FIGC (in Italian). 2 May 2010. Archived from the original on 5 May 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  27. May, John (22 May 2007). "A.C. Milan Pen Pics". BBC Sport. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  28. "Alfabeto gialloblù". La Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  29. "Bonera: 6' Compleanno Rossonero" (in Italian). A.C. Milan. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  30. "Bonera, Milan: "Sono sicuro che andremo in Champions, e voglio esserci anch'io"". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). 25 March 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013.[permanent dead link]
  31. "Italy – D. Bonera". soccerway.com. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  32. "Bonera, Daniele". A.C. Milan. Archived from the original on 14 March 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  33. "Finale: Milan, i protagonisti di Atene". ESPN FC. 23 May 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  34. "Bonera Sig. Daniele – Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana" (in Italian). quirinale.it. Retrieved 18 July 2017.