ATLANTA - Giorgio Chiellini said that when he first heard the rumours of Cristiano Ronaldo's eventual transfer to Juventus, he thought it would be "impossible" for the Portuguese superstar to join the Italian club.
Ronaldo's future was plunged into doubt moments after he helped Ronaldo to a third straight Champions League title, saying "It's been great being at Real Madrid" in the moments after Los Blancos beat Liverpool in Kiev.
By early July, reports emerged of Ronaldo's potential move to Juve. A week later, he was confirmed as the Bianconeri's No. 7.
"[The first time I heard about Ronaldo], I said to my friends, 'Nah, it's impossible,'" Chiellini told ESPN in an exclusive interview ahead of Wednesday's MLS All-Star game. "After one day, [I thought] maybe it is possible.
"With our manager, with our director ... it's a reality. Juventus is growing ... year after year, and we need a champion like Cristiano.
"We are excited, we are ready to work with him; all the parts of the club, the players, the marketing manager, the director, are ready to improve with Cristiano and we hope he can help us to achieve our target."
And Juve's summer shopping spree shows no signs of slowing down. In addition to Ronaldo, Emre Can, Joao Cancelo and Mattia Perin, the club has been linked with Leonardo Bonucci.
The 31-year-old left the Old Lady for AC Milan just last summer, but already he could return to the Allianz Stadium to partner Chiellini in Juventus' defence once again. The pair spent seven seasons together in Turin.
And Chiellini spoke of his friendship with his former defensive partner, but was respectful of the situation with the Milan captain.
"Leonardo, for me, is a friend," Chiellini said. "I pass my holiday with him and my family.
"I know about his quality, but I don't know. It's not easy, and I want to have respect to my teammates ... I'm not s president or director, so we will see what happens at the end of the Serie A -- we will see if Leonardo is here."