Tonali Could Have Moved to Inter or Barcelona, Says Brescia Owner

Sandro Tonali has risen to become one of Italy’s hottest midfield prospects, ever since his Brescia days where he first displayed signs of brilliance. Now, Brescia owner and president Massimo Cellino has come forward with a revelation regarding the 21-year-old prodigy, citing that he could have continued his career elsewhere other than Milan.

Shortly a year after Tonali’s Serie A debut in August 2019, the Rossoneri acquired the midfielder initially on a €10m loan deal that didn’t go as expected. However, since he was purchased by Milan last summer, Tonali has performed impressively across all fronts.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport (via MilanLive), Cellino disclosed that he wanted to satisfy the will of Tonali himself to play in Rossoneri colors and also that he felt a debt of gratitude to Milan.

“I could have sold him for three times as much to Barcelona, ​​then to Inter. But it was right to give him to Maldini, who did well. I gave up on money that I would have needed, but I had a debt of gratitude with Milan and I paid it off,” he revealed.

Inter were closer than Barcelona to sign Tonali, but it was the relationship between Cellino and Milan that played a key role in bringing the talented midfielder to the Red & Black side of Milan.

The 21-year-old also took a huge pay cut in 2021, when compared to the previous season, to be signed by the Rossoneri – a gesture that was praised by the higher management.

Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara are already planning a pay rise for Tonali and have already met his agent Giuseppe Riso to discuss an extension of contract. The negotiations will take place probably next year or the year after that, as he still has a contract valid until June 2026.

Touted to be Italy’s ‘next Andrea Pirlo’ due to their similar physical features, playing styles and club backgrounds, Tonali has a bright future ahead of him in both Rossoneri and Azzurri colors.