Wednesday January 20 2021
Why Nicolò Barella is the best midfielder in Italy

Richard Hall argues Nicolò Barella is following in Lothar Matthaus’ footsteps at Inter and is proving to be the best midfielder in Italy right now.

“Perfect in every respect.” These were the words of Antonio Conte when referring to Nicolo Barella’s performance against Juventus.

The tenacious midfielder was unplayable against the Old Lady as his use of the ball, intelligent play and magnificent engine made his opposition counter parts look inadequate.

This is not luck, the young midfielder has shown that he can consistently dominate games but even for him, this last game was something special. Now as the Nerazzurri focus their sights on the Scudetto, they have a player who can truly be referred to as the best Italian midfielder at this moment in time.

You know you are doing something right at Inter when Lothar Matthaus waxes lyrical about the similarities between the two in playing style. It is quite evident to see, they both have stamina that is not quite normal, they have the same powerful running style, both could/can tackle hard, possess and incredible range of passing and they can score goals.

Barella may not be at World Player of the Year standard yet but he is certainly doing everything he can to lift his star.

It all went well for Barella against Juventus but he worked for it. He gained his sixth league assist of the season when he crossed in for Arturo Vidal to score the opener.

He then connected on a superlative long pass from Alessandro Bastoni, drove through ‘The Old Lady’s’ back line before scoring with a finish reminiscent of Diego Milito. It was astounding as he also had something else on his mind.

As he put Juventus to the sword, his wife, Federica Schievenin gave birth to their third child. It was certainly quite the week.

Such responsibility on and off the pitch is a lot to bare and considering he is still only 23-years of age, it is quite incredible just how mature he is.

Barella had a good schooling. Born in Sardinia he started out at the academy of the legendary Gigi Riva. He was picked up by Cagliari at eight years of age and developed as a trequartista although he soon found himself operating all over the midfield and becoming adaptable and showing enough quality to see him take the attention of the Italy-U19’s and after a loan to then Serie B side Como, he established him for Cagliari.

As players like Alessandro Del Piero amongst others praised him, it was no surprise that he was picked up by one of Italy’s elite clubs.

Inter won his hand and he has not looked back as his appears to be the model professional and his life on and off the pitch is without controversy.

His wife, fellow Sardinian, Federica, is seven years older than him and perhaps part of the reason that he shows so much maturity. He has claimed that he wants to emulate former Inter captains Javier Zanetti and Giacinto Facchetti and despite interest gathering from some of Europe’s elite, he has always expressed his loyalty to Inter.

Saying that, if his performances keep going in this direction then the attention will certainly increase.

Barella is a fans’ favourite and his ability to produce the same performances no matter whether he plays with Marcelo Brozovic, Vidal or Stefano Sensi. For him to take himself to the top level. then he must become the game changer in big games on a regular basis, not just good games but outstanding ones.

With Juventus slipping off the pace, the Serie A title race is wide open. Roma, Napoli and Inter are trying to hunt down the ever-impressive Milan.

They will continue to need the engine and creativity in the midfield as the affect it has on the rest of the team is infectious. With Achraf Hakimi and Matteo Darmian on the wings, it allows Barella’s range of passing to be utilised and with the aforementioned three and Marcelo Brozovic, Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku will continue to be supplied.

For most 23-year old players, it may be wise not to expect too much and to take the pressure off, but Barella seems to thrive on it.

Inter need to be careful of not becoming too dependent on him and instead, need to nurture his rapid improvement.

Inter may be thinking of the Scudetto this season, but if they can get Barella to be anywhere near the standards of his admirer, Lothar Matthaus, they could think about titles to come also.


Have your say...

"lol Fanboy viktor here seems boring. Let's cheer him up with a simple quiz."

Nice trash talk little man, really hit the nail on last one. Really hurt my feelings, so accurate so ruthlessly right, really hit the spot.
on the 28th January, 2021 at 4:55pm
lol Fanboy viktor here seems boring. Let's cheer him up with a simple quiz.

FI: "Why Nicolò Barella is the best midfielder in Italy?"

Fanboy Viktor answered: BENNACER...

LMAO Son, next time, don't forget to wear your cute AC Milan socks. It fits your cute tiny feet.
on the 28th January, 2021 at 3:02pm

You and @Ita1 Are just too cute.. Again, you keep writing.

"Don't push me to expose your stupidity" Seriously, please do, you're hilarious.


Stay out of it.
on the 27th January, 2021 at 9:11am
If Italy are going to continue with the 4-3-3 then I think Barella and Locatelli should partner Verratti in the midfield 3 and Jorginho be left out. He's done well for Italy but for me the two youngsters have overtaken him now. What a midfield that is btw, I can't think of a better one in international football. Chiesa doing well for Juve is great for the national team also. If Zaniolo can make a full recovery as well then WOW
on the 26th January, 2021 at 4:25pm
It Seems fanboy Viktor here is consuming too much Rosetta stone blah blah blah. I ask you once again, do you forget how you praise Conti in the past? It's almost similar with how you praise this mediocre Bennacer. It's embarrassing. Now where's Conti? Stop pretending that you never praise Conti in the previous blog. Tskkk, tskk... pathetic fanboy. Don't push me to expose your stupidity.
on the 26th January, 2021 at 3:29pm

give it a rest, would you? i see u on here putting people down left, right and center and then u have the nerve to talk about civility? u can't even answer questions put to u.
on the 26th January, 2021 at 1:59pm

I have about the same energy as yourself. You spend a huge amount of time on here. More than I do, actually.

U talk about being civilized, yet claim I live in a dump (STILL looking for your answer as to where that is), and accuse another guy of having mental issues/disease/being a liar

Is that YOUR version of civilized, Vicky?

U berate people who say anything negative about Milan, then play the victim

And the reason u can't answer those 2 questions is ... BECAUSE U HAVE NO ANSWERS
on the 26th January, 2021 at 1:15pm
@ITA 1

How on earth do you have the energy to keep going. You are like a broken record. Unless you wanna talk about football in a civilised way, this conversation is over. You come out at an utterly annoying person.
on the 26th January, 2021 at 7:59am

Ah, you meant "Living in a dump", not "About living a dump"

Surely your mistake is bigger than the do/did you complained about to the other guy, no?

Strange how you dissed his minor mistake while saying your big mistake was my fault!

I never said Bennacer was downgraded - I, and others, were replying to your original comment. Get it?

Now: 1: where's this "dump" I live in? AND 2:
Where did you say the EXACT words: "there could be a tiny, tiny chance" regarding Haaland?"

Do tell.
on the 25th January, 2021 at 9:01pm
@ITA 1

I'm pretty sure you understand what living in a dump means... even you little man.

As for Barella, "I agree that Barella has been amazing, but saying that Bennacer is half decent is too downgrade greatly."

When the season state I´d say on the market they were equal in terms of evaluation, clearly Bennacers injury throne things has changed. I admit that Barella currently is a head and NOONE knows what will happen in the future.

Read instead of complaining.
on the 25th January, 2021 at 3:10pm

Where did you say the EXACT words: "there could be a tiny, tiny chance" regarding Haaland?
on the 25th January, 2021 at 2:02pm

You have some nerve slagging another off about his grammar lol

I asked u earlier what one of your beautifully constructed questions: "About living a dump" meant?

Guess what? NO REPLY!

People in glass houses, Vicky!

Strange how u focus on someone slagging u, yet completely ignore the numerous people on here who told u how wrong u were (and u were!) putting Bennacer ahead of Barella! So scared to stand up for your original opinion (albeit a seriously flawed/one-sided one)?
on the 25th January, 2021 at 9:37am
@ITA 1

Cute, you taggin along with your boyfriend @1985 trash talking eh?

I never said we would get Halland NOW, I said there could be a tiny, tiny chance yes, but never something very realistic. Not sure why you have the urge, the habit of changing the truth.

As for our transfer window, we never had the ambition to sign large. We wanna keep our jewels, Hakan, Donnarumma and Calabria. Thats what's important. Keep up with the game son.
on the 25th January, 2021 at 9:21am

"Pathological liar" look it up son, there are ways to treat it.

Id cash in 50m on Bennacer, pretty nice ROI considering what we payed. Might wanna look that up to, and learn a thing a two,

And it's DID not DO, PRAISED.

So three lessons, 1. find more info about your mental decease 2. Learn more about ROI and Milans mediocre player 3. apply for a Rosetta Stone subscription before trash talking.
on the 25th January, 2021 at 8:18am

don't waste your time with Vicky lol

he said recently that Milan could sign Haaland for 70m!!!

instead they got:

old Mario on a free who hasn't kicked a ball (for Al Duhail lol) in 10 months.

Meite on loan, a Bologna squad player.

Tomori on loan, a player who hasn't played 90min in the Lge/CL in 14 months.

yeah, not quite Haaland!
on the 25th January, 2021 at 8:12am
Hahaha fanboy @Viktor attempts to restore his dignity. Hey fanboy, do you forget how you praise Conti in the past? It's almost similar with how you praise this mediocre Bennacer. It's embarrassing. Now where's Conti?
on the 24th January, 2021 at 4:33am

Huh? Conti what? forgot to take your meds did you?

In like texting and drinking but in your case its forgetting taking your pills and typing. Go away
on the 23rd January, 2021 at 8:48pm
LMAO @ this fanboy Viktor. The other day was Conti and now Bennacer. Hahahah embarrassing.
on the 23rd January, 2021 at 1:45am
Obviously I’m a juventino but Barella is full stop the best midfielder in Italy. 10m into the match and I was already texting my friends saying I’d sell our entire mid for him. While, he was starting to have the match of his life. He’s an incredible talent. Obviously pains me tremendously he’s a Cartonato but at least I have Italy to cheer him on with.
on the 22nd January, 2021 at 6:12pm

Don't be ridiculous. Barella has been far superior to Bennacer this season. The latter is a good player, but he's yet to match what Barella has done. But if he stays fit he might.

Be realistic and honest, not biased.
on the 21st January, 2021 at 11:01pm
@ Viktor

I am a Milan fan and Bennacer is nowhere near the level of Barella. In fact we have been better while he's been out injured. He runs a lot and makes tackles but he is poor on the ball most of the time. He is a typical premier league player, not a world class one.

Barella has all the tools to be the best in the world, not seen someone as good as him for a long time, and the best part is there is nothing fancy about him, just does everything you want and does it very very well
on the 21st January, 2021 at 2:58pm
Comparing Barela to Bennacer is like comparing Ferrari and Fiat.
on the 21st January, 2021 at 1:34pm
I am in love with this player. Every time he steps up a level he takes it in his stride and improves. Cagliari to Inter, Europa League, Champs League, National team. He just takes it all in his stride. He seems very mature as a player and a person and his game has gone to even higher levels recently. Technically he's not an Iniesta type but he's added quality, killer passes to his game and a few goals also. Top Top player
on the 21st January, 2021 at 12:57pm
@Viktor market value? Really? Let's award the league title to the team with the highest market value then.
Everybody agrees Barella is, or will be world class, a super star, Bennacer isn't even in that conversation.
on the 21st January, 2021 at 11:35am
LOL Victor I get you are passionate about your team but Bennacer would fall behind brozovic in the midfield battle let alone compare to barella. Respect that you fight for your team but let’s not be too biased!
on the 21st January, 2021 at 11:18am
Inter wouldn’t accept 55m for barella. I think we would have to offer 80-90m. Us on the other hand I’d take 50m every day of the week for Bennacer. Yes he’s good, shown amazing growth but also very inconsistent and always injured. He’s also one dimensional at times with his left and drops his head when the team around him does. Barella leads from the front. PSG were supposedly keen on Bennacer but have apparently decided to look elsewhere. Says a lot.
on the 21st January, 2021 at 11:12am
I would like to thank Inter for the match because i think it made Pirlo understand changes was needed. We played 4-4-2 against Napoli, and we looked like a completley different team. This without some of our best players in de ligt & Dybala. Against Inter we where missing Cuadrado, de ligt, Sandro just for the defence, and we played a full strength Inter. I predict that this match was a turning point, and we will now make a serious comback, and eventully get back to the top of Serie A. 10th inc
on the 21st January, 2021 at 9:47am

I'm trying to get u out of your bitter little shell. U never miss a chance to put your acidic tongue against anyone who dares question Milan - no matter how garbage they've been in the last decade

Missing 61% of the season DOES mean something. It means a lot, I'm afraid. I never said Bennacer was bad - he isn't - but to suggest he's been better than Barella this season is nonsensical

Just admit Barella is currently better, and get a grip on yourself

And what's "About living a dump"?
on the 21st January, 2021 at 9:36am

"With a market value of €55.00m, Nicolò Barella is ranked number 3 among all players from Italy. With a market value of €55.00m, Nicolò Barella is ranked number 19 among all players worldwide playing as "midfield".

With a market value of €40.00m, Ismaël Bennacer is ranked NUMBER 10 among all players worldwide playing as "Defensive Midfield". With a market value of €40.00m, Ismaël Bennacer is ranked number 3 among all players of at AC Milan

on the 21st January, 2021 at 8:13am

I agree that Barella has been amazing, but saying that Bennacer is half decent is to downgrade greatly.

Bennacer is currently valued at 40 and Barella 55... Keep in mind just as pointed at Bennacer has been injured A LOT this season
on the 21st January, 2021 at 7:56am

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