Cagliari midfielder Nicolò Barella experienced “a dream come true” with his senior Italy debut and is stunned by Gigi Riva’s praise.
The 21-year-old started the 1-1 friendly draw against Ukraine last night, partnering Paris Saint-Germain star Marco Verratti and Chelsea key figure Jorginho.
“It was exciting, a dream come true, and I thank all the teammates who gave me the chance to step on to that field without anxiety,” Barella told Rai Sport.
“It’s pleasing that the Coach liked my performance and it means I’m working well. Roberto Mancini is a great tactician who talks more to the team rather than to individuals. He tries to make sure we enjoy our football and play well.
“The first step to becoming a great team is to follow everything the Coach asks for.”
Barella received praise from Cagliari and Italy legend Riva this week.
“The fact that he is speaking highly of me is moving. He is a hero and I am so happy to have become one of the few Cagliari players to have represented Italy, but there’s a long way to go for anything else.
“I always enter the field trying to help my team. This is a Nazionale of young and strong players, with some great champions too. It’ll take time, because we’re not a club side, we don’t see each other for training every day and in that brief time together we need to all work in the same direction.
“The victories and successes will come.”