Cagliari and Italy starlet Nicolo Barella admits that while he is flattered by Radja Nainggolan comparisons, Luka Modric is the player he most looks up to.
Barella is considered to be Nainggolan’s spiritual heir at Cagliari and has won praise for his performances as a No 10 this season.
“It’s a nice compliment, for me he’s one of the three best midfielders in Serie A,” he said at a Press conference for Italy’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Finland.
“I’ve thought about emulating [Gigi] Riva at Cagliari, but right now I don’t know what my future will be.
“Transfer rumours are nice to hear, but I still haven’t talked to any other clubs, also because I made a commitment, to stay until June and keep up Cagliari.
“Playing with Jorginho and Verratti is an advantage for me: I try to do more work between the lines, but I also track back because I, like various players all over the field, recover balls.
“For me, recovering a ball is like scoring a goal. On the field I’m someone who gives everything, whether I play with Cagliari, the national team or friends.
“In the national team, there are more experienced players who give me a hand and make things easier.
“At Cagliari I play as a No 10 and my game has probably developed a lot: I think more about making the best moves for the team and not myself. For that, I must thank Maran.
“Finland are a compact and very physical team. They’re good at set-pieces and they’ll wait for us to make a mistake.
“We’ll have to be careful. The coach leaves us in peace, he lets us have fun and play football.”
Finally, the 22-year-old was asked about the player he most looked up to.
“Modric’s a champion and I’d like to take everything from him,” he concluded.