Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali denies Mario Balotelli is a wasted talent but admits he ‘looks more’ to other teammates off the field.
Balotelli looks set to leave Brescia before the season is out, his rapport with the club breaking down after he skipped training sessions.
Despite that, Tonali remains a fan of the striker, although he hinted that was limited to the pitch.
“Do I view him as a wasted talent? No, I look at him, stop and go: ‘What a talent’,” the Italy starlet told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“In training, he does things that only very few can. Why ‘wasted’? He played for great teams, scored lots of goals and won things.
“He loves us young players on the team. Being 30, he’s one of the older heads: he gives us advice, a bit like a father.
“He can give us a thousand tips on the pitch. He’s the one with the most experience. Away from it, maybe I look more to Gastaldello or Dessena...”
The 20-year-old is a boyhood Milan fan and revealed the time when he nearly signed for the Rossoneri.
“Lombardia Uno [his first team] were affiliated with Milan. Every two or three months, five or six kids were summoned to Vismara, where Milan’s young players train.
“I can’t say that they rejected me: they didn’t really take me into consideration. Maybe I was too little.”
Finally, he explained why Gennaro Gattuso was his role model.
“I was struck by his determination and generosity. Had he divided the determination he had by 10, there would be enough left to fill up all his teammates.
“He wasn’t afraid of anyone.”
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