Sandro Tonali has admitted he supports Milan and Gennaro Gattuso was his idol, after insisting that Brescia are prepared to fight for salvation, ‘but only when it’s possible’.
Brescia were bottom in Serie A when the season was suspended but the 19-year-old has impressed during his first season in the top tier.
In an interview with the Corriere della Serea, he opened up on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the city of Brescia and spoke about the rumours regarding his own future.
“I’m with President Cellino. We will only play when it’s possible, not a day before," Tonali told the Corriere della Sera. “We played for too long before stopping. I remember the surreal atmosphere of the last match against Sassuolo.
“It didn’t make sense. Here we are talking about the dead, the hospitals, the health. Football is a party. I could be ready to play, but are the people ready? Ready to celebrate a goal? Getting angry about a defeat? What’s going on? Let’s not joke.
“My family are in Lodi, I live in Brescia. I haven’t seen my mum and dad for two months. Football is one thing; real life is another. And that’s coming from one whom football is everything, a dream come true.”
Patron Cellino was criticised for trying to save his club, as the Rondinelle are bottom of the League but Tonali has claimed they are prepared to fight and are ‘where we deserve’.
“I don’t want any gifts. We are where we are because we deserve it. But health comes first,” he added. “When we can play, we will play. Behind closed doors, if that’s what they decide.
“But, as you will see, it will be a different Brescia. We will play for those who are suffering, for those who have lost a grandfather or a father, for those who will not be at the stadium.
“We will give what we have not been able to give here. Because only those who live in Brescia or Bergamo know what we are going through. It’s like war. From the outside, perhaps you can’t understand. But I think we will all get better coming out of this global emergency.
Tonali has been praised as one of the biggest talents in Italy and has been linked with both Inter and Juventus in Serie A, with Chelsea and Manchester United mentioned as possible suitors from the Premier League.
“I don’t think about it, I don’t care, not right now,” he added. “And I don’t say that to mislead. I’m interested in ending the season in the best possible way, because I still feel I have a lot to give to Brescia, who believed in me.
“We will see. Cellino said he will not sell me even for €300m? The President loves me, like a son. And I love him very much, he always gives me great advice.
“I don’t know, that’s a lot of money. It affects you to hear talk about certain figures, but I’m always quite calm and relaxed, that’s my quality.”
Tonali has admitted that he has been a lifelong Milan fan but joked that the reason people have compared him to Andrea Pirlo is ‘because of the hair’.
“Yes, and Gennaro Gattuso was my idol,” he said. “Today, I’m inspired by Luka Modric, among others.
“It’s the hair’s fault [that I’m compared to Pirlo]. It doesn’t bother me, but it’s not a suitable comparison for me. Having similarities is one thing, but on the pitch it’s completely different. Pirlo had extreme qualities. I don’t know who will be able to reach his heights.”
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