Leonardo Bonucci hails Andrea Pirlo

Bonucci hails Pirlo
© Getty Images
Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci brands Andrea Pirlo the club's "silent leader".

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci has branded Andrea Pirlo the club's "silent leader".

The experienced midfielder is not known as a vocal presence on the field, but Bonucci has said that his teammate "knows how to carry his team through difficult moments".

"Pirlo's a leader - a silent leader, but one who knows how to carry his team through difficult moments," Bonucci told UEFA's official website.

"He showed that in Florence in the round of 16, ensuring that we won the match and progressed. He then also scored an important goal which helped us get past Lyon in the quarter-finals.

"Outside of football, he's a great man and has been one of the world's best midfielders in the history of the game."

Juventus face Benfica in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday. As it stands, the Portuguese side lead 2-1 from the first leg.

Benfica's Argentinian defender Ezequiel Garay (R) celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Europa League semifinal first leg football match against Juventus on April 24, 2014
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