Friday July 24 2020
Cellino: 'Tonali sold, Balotelli blame'

Brescia President Massimo Cellino will ‘keep the promise’ to sell Sandro Tonali, but admits he shares the blame ’50-50’ with flop Mario Balotelli.

The Rondinelle are mathematically relegated already after a truly chaotic campaign, which saw coach Eugenio Corini fired, recalled after Fabio Grosso lost every game, then sacked again to make way for Diego Lopez.

“I am distraught, believe me,” owner Cellino told the Corriere di Brescia newspaper.

“However, I am not upset at the verdict, because this season has been just endless agony and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. I am a fighter, but I cannot deny there was some fatigue.

“I made mistakes, I take my share of the responsibility, and I underestimated the risks even from last summer. That is my personal failure.

“There were some misunderstandings with Corini from the start, as he hoped for some things, I hoped for others, and he seemed like a different person to me. My only justification is that I had too many things to think about, with the stadium to be improved, the training ground purchased and the transfer market.”

The big coup that Brescia made last summer was to bring in Balotelli as a free agent, but playing for his hometown club proved to be fraught with the usual difficulties.

“This was a team that was build on enthusiasm for its promotion from Serie B and I admit that I didn’t protect that alchemy enough, so it was destroyed. I chased a star in the sky and took my eye off the team, which had the capabilities to avoid relegation even without Balotelli.

“He got it wrong, I got it wrong, we divide the blame 50-50. I thought he could help me, but I guess both our expectations were unfounded.”

With their relegation, it seems inevitable that star Brescia midfielder Tonali will be sold this summer.

“I made Sandro a promise and I intend to keep it,” concluded Cellino.

“He kept us going for two years, had muscular problems before the lockdown, then too much pressure on his shoulders. So Sandro can leave, but I’m sorry, I won’t sell anyone else.”