West Ham United of England’s Nigerian-born defender, Angelo Obinze Ogbonna has ruled himself out of making a return to playing in the Italian Serie A, where he shot to limelight playing for Juventus and AS Torino, megasportsarena.com reports.
Aside playing for both Turin-based side, Ogbonna, who went on to become a staunch Italian senior international, also lined out for a while with Crotone before moving over to West Ham, where he continues waxing strong.
Ogbonna began his early career in the youth set-up of Cassino, where he played as a central defender and he was noticed by Torino, which, on the recommendation of Antonio Comi, bought him for €3,000 and assigned him to their youth team in 2002.
Having previously been a member of Nuova Cassino’s youth set-up, Ogbonna made his debut in Serie A at the age of 18 under Alberto Zaccheroni and, after an initial loan spell at Crotone in Serie C1, he returned to Torino, with whom he played for a further five seasons.
In July 2013, he transferred to city rivals, Juventus, winning the Scudetto in 2013/14 and 2014/15, as well as 2013 Supercoppa Italiana and 2014/15 Coppa Italia, while totaling four league appearances at the end of season.
In the 2006/07 season, he was regularly called up to the first team and on 11 February 2007 he made his debut in Serie A at age 18, against Reggina (1–2), as a starter under Alberto Zaccheroni, but he moved on loan to Crotone in Serie C1 the following August, then went on to get 22 league appearances.
In the 2008/09 Serie A season, he returned to Torino, collecting 19 league appearances and four in Coppa Italia, but they were relegated to Serie B, following which he earned his place as a starter for the Granata.
On 17 April 2010, Ogbonna scored his first goal for Torino against Cesena, finishing 1–1 and on 15 August 2010, in the second round of Coppa Italia against Cosenza (won 3–1 in extra time), he wore the captain’s armband for the first time.
In three Serie B seasons with Torino, Ogbonna made 105 appearances and helped the club return to Serie A after finishing second to Pescara during the 2011/12 season, then renewed his contract with Torino 30 June 30, 2016.
On 11 July 2013, Ogbonna had a medical at Turin’s Fornaca, Isokinetic and Istituto di Medicina dello Sport ahead of his proposed cross-town move to Juventus, from where the move to London came for the bald pate star, who was a member of the Italian side that finished runners-up at UEFA Euro 2012 and played for them as well at UEFA Euro 2016.
Having seen the best of action in the English Premier League and already advancing in age, Ogbonna is thinking seriously about winding down his career in Queensland, where he believes he has stamped his authority over the past seasons and need not move on.
Consequently, Ogbonna has ruled out a return to Italy anytime soon, but he confessed that he has some nostalgia about the country where he was born and admitted he keeps a close eye on action in the Italian Serie A.
He took time out to reflect on current happenings on the Italian peninsula, where he noted that one of his former clubs, Juventus, are still holding their own as defending champions, despite facing some torrid time, while Inter Milan are staging a bold challenge for the title.
Nonetheless, Ogbonna is quick to conclude that his present focus is on his base in London, where he has settled in well with his family, and the Nigerian-born stopper, who has cut a figure of a strong, physically endowed, barging centre back with an eye for goal, says his immediate future is still in England.
Ogbonna told Sky Italia: “In my future I still see England. Then in football you never know. What matters is today, where I’m fine and my family is happy. Then we’ll see.
“It’s nice to see competition in a league like the Italian one. Milan are back to their levels. Juve is going through a difficult period but it is precisely in these moments that they get stronger. It’s a very balanced league.”