Dear Sandro

Much has been discussed about Sandro Tonali's transfer to Newcastle in the media and on social media. There has been speculation, anger, speculation, heartbreak, speculation, arguments, speculation, and shaming or even abuse of others regarding the player, his motives, and even his credentials. The Club was heartless, although not a surprise after the goodbye they gave to Maldini. No compilation videos, just a single post. I suppose they had to look grateful given the money they were collecting for his sale. But they immediately went on to shamefully promote new merchandise, and then promptly hand over Tonali's number to new signing, Loftus-Cheek. But now that it is said and done, I wanted to take the time to say goodbye with a personal letter to Sandro.

Our bandiera and captain, just like we all wanted for you.

Dear Sandro,

When you caught the eye of all of the big clubs, I knew you were a Milan fan, and I had hoped that you would come to Milan. When Maldini swept in and took you away from the agreement with Inter, I was so happy. Happy for you, happy for Milan. There is something so special for fans to have one of their own come to play for a club.

That first year, some were disappointed, I guess. But I believed in you. You repaid that belief by not only taking a pay cut to stay at Milan, but coming back even stronger. And you never looked back. I am not a proponent of violence, but I am a huge fan of the Gattuso in you – that extra push, shove, kick or whatever, to let an opponent know that you are a fierce warrior. Watching you just shove players to the ground has always been a highlight, especially in Derbies. You made us all feel empowered as fans because you were uno di noi, one of us.

I will miss your inner Gattuso.

But watching you develop as an overall player has been nothing short of amazing. I am not even sure if you realize the level of skill you have, although you have never been shy or lacking in confidence. I will miss everything about your play, but one of the things I will miss most is your incredible set pieces. You have the power, accuracy, and spectacular skill that I have tried not to take for granted since you arrived.

I think that one of the reasons your departure stirred up so much emotion is that you yourself have always played with such emotion. You are the very definition of grinta, and your goals usually came as a result of pure belief and willpower, especially when we needed them most. When Milan won, no one showed it more than you. When the team lost or played poorly, no one was more angry or disappointed than you. When times were tough, you were not afraid to cry. Your tears were our tears, and that made fans relate to you even more.

Your emotions were our emotions.

Speaking of tears, I have shed so many lately. First, along with you after the final match watching Ibrahimović say goodbye to football. Then, the following day, when Paolo Maldini was abruptly dismissed from his position as Technical Director. I know many of the players were upset by this, as he not only brought them into the club, but mentored them and was even like a second father to them. But I thought of you, too. Not only did Maldini rescue you from a horrible fate of playing for Inter, but you are Milan nel cuore. You know better than most of those players what Maldini means to Milan.

It hurt to watch all of this happen as you were proudly representing your country, captaining the U21 side at the U21 Euro tournament. At such a young age, to be managing so many emotions, it seemed unfair that they were asking you to make such a life-changing decision at the same time. I had hoped they would allow you to wait, to give you some time to think about it before you signed, but that was not to be.

An artist with the heart of a warrior.

My reaction when I heard that the Club was willing to sell you to Newcastle was one of shock and disbelief. With this despicable new owner, and after what he did to Maldini, I knew more horrible things could come. But I never thought it would be you that they would sacrifice. Maldini turned down so many big offers for so many of the players, he knew the importance of hanging onto certain players. But these people don't understand anything. They don't even understand the importance of keeping you as a homegrown player for our Champions League roster, which was already limited by a lack of Italian-trained players the past two seasons. It must sting for you, too, simply that they are behaving so irresponsibly with the club you love.

I was disappointed that you agreed, but I also did not blame you. I understood that despite your devotion to the Club, there were a lot of things that changed very quickly this year. I certainly did not blame you for wanting to get out of this mess. With Maldini gone, no one is safe, and your sale was proof (as if we needed any more.) But it doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye.

So much changed so quickly.

I am happy for you, happy that Newcastle understands what they are getting. They understand your quality and were willing, despite their Financial Sustainability issues with UEFA, to spend big to bring you in. They believe in you more than the charlatans running Milan do, and I am proud that you will be able to show the Premier League and the world that you are worth the money. I am also happy that, after taking a pay cut initially to stay at Milan, you will be compensated better there than Milan could ever pay you. You deserve that at least, especially if you have to eat that awful food there.

Your goodbye was equal parts painful and comforting. The video reminded me of everything I will be missing, but also of everything you gave to us. Grazie. Your message was heartfelt, even if my heart is still breaking at losing you:

Iconic Tonali.

Today I find myself here with a mix of emotions in my heart. As you know, I have decided to embark on a new adventure and a new challenge.

I begin by thanking the organization that welcomed me and gave me this opportunity to be part of this extraordinary club, which is and will always remain my home for me. I thank those who made sure that I wore the colors of the team of my heart, and those who managed the situation with their availability and support in the last few weeks. I've learned a lot in these three years and I've found a football family among the club, teammates, and technical staff, who have supported and guided me along my path. It is thanks to you that I have been able to improve as a footballer and as a man.

I understand that this farewell can arouse mixed emotions, and it's normal that there are those emotions when you leave a big piece of your heart, but it's important to remember that in football, as in life, changes are sometimes a reason for growth for everyone.

Now I want to thank my people: you, who, like me, carry the Rossoneri colors in your heart. I will never forget the choruses of the Curva Sud, the 19th Scudetto, all the wonderful moments shared together, and the love for our Milan.

I wish you all, the club and the fans, the best for the future, and I'm sure you will still do great things together.

A very warm hug, with the hope that it is not a goodbye, but a see you later.

Forza Milan.


Uno di noi.

Many of us wanted to see you stay at the club forever. You were a bandiera simply by right of being such a true Milanista, and our future captain, or so we hoped. But even Maldini admitted early on after his return to Milan that it is very difficult for a player to stay at one club anymore. While your letter was very comforting, especially the "see you later" part, it is hard to imagine a Milan that could possibly afford to bring you back from the Premier League, given the gross disparity in wealth.

But in my heart, I know that you are a Milanista. And now, that will have to be enough. I wish you all the success in the world. I hope that you make us proud by showing everyone what an amazing player and person you are. And that even if you are wearing a different shirt, we know that your heart is Rossonero.

See you later.

Grazie, Sandro.

You deserved a Milan that loved you back.

This post inspired by the music of The Cure's "Lovesong"


Dear Sandro Dear Sandro Reviewed by Elaine on 6:31 AM Rating: 5
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