Brescia sensation Sandro Tonali prepares for his Serie A debut, shrugs off Andrea Pirlo comparisons and reveals Milan “rejected me.”
The 19-year-old was instrumental in helping Brescia earn promotion last term and resisted big offers from Italy and abroad.
“I postponed my exams, because I just didn’t have the right focus, as I was getting into Serie A with Brescia and had the Under-21 European Championship too. It’s not an excuse, but I did promise (Brescia President Massimo) Cellino that I’ll graduate next year,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I’m sure that winning back possession will be far more difficult in Serie A, with a higher tempo and different movement between the lines.”
Tonali is becoming impatient with the endless Pirlo comparisons and has a plan.
“I like to play in front of the defence, but I prefer not to talk about Pirlo. I think people compare us because of the haircut, so maybe I ought to get it cut.
“Andrea is beyond reach, unique like Steven Gerrard or Luka Modric, but I think if I have to be compared to anyone, it’s probably Gennaro Gattuso.”
He almost followed in Gattuso’s footsteps and joined Milan’s youth academy when he was a child, but it’s the Rossoneri who are left with regrets.
“I was eight years old and had a trial for the Milan academy, although at the time I was a striker. They rejected me. I won’t say I have regrets, because I went to Piacenza.
“I won’t rule out an experience abroad, but I really like the style of football in Italy.”