Chelsea target Leonardo Bonucci started against potential new team-mate Diego Costa as Italy hosted Spain in a World Cup 2018 qualifier.
The Italian centre-back was deployed by Giampiero Ventura in a back three alongside regular defender Andrea Barzagli and debutant Alessio Romagnoli.
It was honours even on the night as the duo drew 1-1, with Italy doing the majority of the defending before snatching an equaliser late in the match.
A Gianluigi Buffon error gifted Vitolo a tap in to put Spain ahead but Daniele De Rossi scored from the penalty spot to earn a point for the Italians.
The two nations met at Euro 2016, where Italy beat the Spaniards 2-0 but both have since changed their managers.
Conte is believed to be ready to bid £60million for Bonucci, although Costa’s early clash with the defender in the Group G match won’t have done his chances of landing him any favours.
Bonucci was willing to take the ball in tight spaces from Buffon, which shows the amount of trust Italy have in his ability on the ball.
It was a difficult night of defending for the Italians, with Spain dominating the possession, but Bonucci organised his fellow defenders well and he kept Costa in his pocket for large periods of the match.
He also showed he wouldn’t be bullied by Costa and was happy to match him physically.
Costa was hauled off in the 68th minute but Bonucci equally matched his replacement, and former Juventus team-mate, Alvaro Morata.
On the whole, he didn’t do a lot wrong but he’ll be disappointed with the manner of Spain’s first goal.
A lack of communication saw Romagnoli a lot deeper than the rest of the backline and Vitolo was allowed to charge through.
Buffon certainly should have dealt with it and it was a horrible error from the legendary goalkeeper but Bonucci will have been disappointed with the line his side held to even allow danger near their area.
He showed he could grapple with Costa, one of the more difficult strikers to contain in world football, and, in truth, Italy wouldn’t have conceded if it wasn’t for a horrific Buffon error.
Bonucci’s defensive resilience helped Italy stay in the game and allowed them to snatch a point.