Ogbonna ready for Juve reunion

  • Ogbonna set to face Juventus for the first time since leaving last summer

  • The Italy international made 41 Serie A appearances for Juventus

  • Ogbonna set to feature in his first pre-season game

Angelo Ogbonna is relishing the chance to line up against his former club Juventus for the first time in the Betway Cup on Sunday and hopes to mark the official opening ceremony with another impressive victory.

Ogbonna enjoyed a memorable two-year spell with the Italian giants and will never forget his time playing for one of the biggest clubs in Europe.

Having played alongside a number of his former team-mates for Italy at the Euro Finals during the summer, the 28-year-old will now get the chance to meet up with them once again at the new Stadium on Sunday.

But despite his close relationships with the Juventus players and staff, Ogbonna knows there is still a job to do on the pitch and knows the importance of securing a victory in their final pre-season game before the new Premier League campaign gets underway.

Ogbonna said: “I think it is very important for the team to officially open the stadium against a team like Juventus who have big players and a big mentality.

“I am very excited about facing them because I only left them a year ago to join West Ham United.

“I have a lot of happy memories from my time at Juventus and playing in Italy.

“I grew up there, learned all my tactics and grew into the player that I have become today. I have to say a big thank you to the clubs I played for in Italy.

“But now everything has changed and I am happy now to be in England and I want to improve myself even more at West Ham United.

“We know it will be an extremely hard game and both teams will want to win ahead of the new season. We cannot think about all the good players they have and need to focus on what we can do.”

As well as facing well known faces such as Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, Ogbonna is also interested to see how new signing Gonzalo Higuain will settle into his new surroundings.

The Argentine forward became the world's third most expensive player when he joined the club from Napoli for £75.3million last week.

Ogbonna has no doubts he could be the key in helping Juventus to challenge the big guns in the Champions League once again and also feels the arrival of Miralem Pjanic could also be another big addition to the squad.

Ogbonna added: “I think they have made a really good signing getting Higuain because they are still improving.

“It is not just the strikers they have brought in, but Pjanic is also a very good signing and I think it will be very important for them to have these good players when they are playing in the Champions League.”