Inter defender Alessandro Bastoni called Antonio Conte “the Lionel Messi of Coaches” and has learned so much from marking Romelu Lukaku in training.
The Italy Under-21 international is not holding back in his praise of the new Nerazzurri boss.
“Everyone had spoken highly of Conte and I’ve only received confirmation of how great he is. As far as I am concerned, Conte is the Messi of Coaches,” Bastoni told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“He is phenomenal, has exceptional footballing ideas and always wants to go on the attack. The training schedule is very tough indeed, but so was Gian Piero Gasperini when I played for Atalanta.
“The difference was that we were training in China over the summer and the humidity was incredible, so I admit that did make me suffer a lot. But when the quality level goes up, you must raise your game to meet it.
“There’s no point denying it, we want to change the way the Serie A seasons have been going recently. We have the Coach and the squad to do that, but must prove it one game at a time.”
Bastoni is only 20 years old, so considers this experience at San Siro to be a genuine education.
“I’ve been so impressed by the humility of my teammates at Inter, despite them being some of the best in the world, and they give me such great advice. I’ve always supported Inter, so looking at myself in the mirror with this jersey on is a dream come true.
“It’s tough marking Lukaku in training, but on the plus side it’s good practice for when you do go up against physically strong strikers, because they’re a piece of cake compared to him! Romelu is like a force of nature.”