Sandro Tonali: The Chosen One

Taking players from Inter is just the best. That was one of the reasons we fell in love immediately with Bonaventura. With Tonali, though, he was predestined to be a Milan player. He worshipped Milan fervently his whole life, and it must have killed him when his agent told him there was an agreement with Inter. He even spoke in the media about his disappointment that Milan had not made an offer for him. But then Maldini did. Not only did he take Tonali out of Inter's limp clutches, he managed to work out the terms with Brescia that we needed to help us with FFP. And then Sandro Tonali was ours. The chosen one.


His heart was already red and black

Sandro Tonali was born in Lodi in Lombardy on May 8, 2000, but lived in nearby Sant'Angelo. He grew up loving football, but was also a quiet but diligent student. He began playing for local teams, and it was immediately clear that he was very gifted. He was described as smaller than the other boys, but one of his coaches even called him Maradona because he had "all the tricks." In 2009, he began playing for Piacenza's youth teams. In 2012, the same coach who scouted and discovered Pirlo discovered him and brought him to Brescia.


Sometimes dreams do come true

After only 12 appearances for Brescia's Primavera, he was promoted to the first team. However, he didn't have a professional contract, so he ended up going back to the Primavera until he did. From 2017 on, he made a total of 88 appearances for Brescia's first team. He was one of the reasons that Brescia won Serie B in 2019 and were promoted to Serie A.


He was always destined for bigger things

Tonali has also featured for Italy's U19 team, playing in the 2018 U19 Euros Final. He has also featured for the U21 team, and has even been called up to the Senior team a few times since November 2018. This week, he featured for the U21 team, notably being sent off with a straight red. He got a red card at Milan, as well... once. It is likely he will not do that again anytime soon.


For club and country

After being listed as one of the top 50 young players to watch by UEFA in 2019, it was obvious that he would soon be playing for a big club. But which club? He was linked to all of the big clubs in Serie A, but last summer, the only club who had made an offer was Inter. Tonali's agent had agreed to terms with the club. Then magic happened. Inter were no longer convinced, as Conte wanted another expensive midfielder that he could sit on the bench. So Maldini rushed in, and within less than 48 hours had a deal with Cellino for a loan with option to buy, cheaper than Inter were going to pay for him. It was like magic.


Like magic

Tonali said that when he learned of Milan's interest in him, he "closed all other doors." The town he grew up in, Sant'Angelo, is made up primarily of Milan supporters. Tonali's father was one of them, a devout Milanista who passed his love for the Rossoneri on to his son. Tonali grew up idolizing Gattuso, and even had a mug with Gattuso's face on it. One day, his mother dropped it, and he would not calm down until it was glued back together. His respect was so strong for the former Milan legend that when Tonali signed for Milan, he called Gattuso to ask his permission to wear the number eight.


He wears the shirt of a legend, but will be his own player

Many have compared him to Pirlo, mainly because they both needed a proper haircut and both played for Brescia. Pirlo himself said that Tonali is a more complete player than he was. Tonali likes to compare himself to Gattuso, but his playmaking skills already exceed that of the former number eight. Caracciolo, a player he played with at Brescia, said he reminded him of Seedorf. Clearly, he is his own player, and it is unfair to compare him to anyone.


Hardworking and humble

As a young player, Tonali was described as hardworking and humble. His teammates and coaches remember him for his innate ability to win the ball back. He was also described as both combative and determined, someone who never liked to lose. Although shy off the pitch, on the pitch, he would be very competitive and physical.

Not much has changed, he has only improved with age. Having already racked up 21 appearances this season for Milan, he is one of the 11 most used players this year due to Bennacer's injuries. His playmaking skills are obvious, he is excellent at seeing and creating opportunities. He still wins the ball back, even if there's a "furbo" extra shove or push or kick in there for his opponent. He is fast, intelligent, and good with the ball at his feet. He works hard like Gattuso, but has the skills of a regista, or playmaker.


A future champion?

Some fans have criticized him for not being good enough, but those fans have forgotten that Bennacer struggled when he first arrived, too. Tonali is three years younger, but has already developed even faster than the Algerian wonder did when he first came to the club. The development of young players is always a gamble, but there is something very special about Tonali. The talent that people saw in him from very early on is still evident, and his humble and hardworking attitude makes him a fantastic signing for Milan. So amazing that he is a Milanista from birth, and even better that we stole him from Inter. He has plenty of growing yet to do, but there is a reason that so many fans consider him the chosen one.


You may also like "Sandro Tonali: a Rossonero dream come true" a mini-documentary created by AC Milan about Tonali's life so far


This post inspired by the music of twenty one pilots' "Tear in My Heart"


Sandro Tonali: The Chosen One Sandro Tonali: The Chosen One Reviewed by Elaine on 1:21 AM Rating: 5
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