Wonderkid Sandro Tonali says he is ‘a mix of Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso’


Italy wonderkid Sandro Tonali says he is ‘a mix of Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso’ after debut for national team

  • Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali made his debut for Italy against Liechtenstein
  • The 19-year-old has impressed during the first few months of the Serie A season
  • Toanli has drawn comparisons with former Italy playmaker Andrea Pirlo
  • But Tonali believes he is more of a cross between Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso

Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali described himself as a mix between Italian legends Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso after making his debut for the national team.

Tonali came on as a 74th minute substitute in the 5-0 win at Liechtenstein on Tuesday, and was actually booked 10 minutes into his debut.  

The 19-year-old has drawn comparisons with former Juventus and AC Milan midfielder Pirlo, but Tonali himself believes he has elements of Gattuso also within his style of play. 

Sandro Tonali came on in the 74th minute to make his Italy debut against Liechtenstein

Sandro Tonali came on in the 74th minute to make his Italy debut against Liechtenstein

Andrea Pirlo had a stellar football career, first with AC Milan and then with rivals Juventus

Andrea Pirlo had a stellar football career, first with AC Milan and then with rivals Juventus 

Gennaro Gattuso played with Pirlo for AC Milan and was known for his tenacity in midfield

Gennaro Gattuso played with Pirlo for AC Milan and was known for his tenacity in midfield 

SANDRO TONALI IN 2019-20 

  • Appearances: 7
  • Goals: 0
  • Assists: 2
  • Yellow cards: 1

Statistics according to Transfermarkt  

‘It’s tough to pick one of those champions,’ Tonali told Rai Sport.

‘Maybe a mix of both of them would be perfect! I guess there are similarities with Pirlo in a way, but I also put a lot of grit in there, so maybe more Gattuso.’

Pirlo and Gattuso were members of the Italy squad which won the 2006 World Cup, and regularly formed a partnership in central midfield. 

Gattuso made 73 appearances for his country between 2000 and 2010, while Pirlo made 116 between 2002-2015, putting him fifth in the all-time appearances list for Italy.  

Tonali also spoke of his pride at making his debut for the national team, following an impressive start to the season with newly-promoted Brescia.

‘I felt wonderful, as not everyone gets to play for the Nazionale. After 30 seconds where I was a little emotional that it was really happening, I settled down.

‘The coach told us all to be ready to play, so I had an idea. Everyone in the squad was very helpful to the newcomers like me and it felt easy to come in.

The 19-year-old has impressed for newly-promoted Brecia so far this season in Italy's top flight

The 19-year-old has impressed for newly-promoted Brecia so far this season in Italy’s top flight 

‘I don’t know how much I’ll play, we’ll take it game by game and you can never tell in football what will happen.

‘The system is different, so is the timing and there is obviously a lot more quality in the Italy side, but the role and position remain the same.’

Italy became the first country to qualify for Euro 2020 with a win against Greece last week in Rome.  

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