AC Milan icon Demetrio Albertini has given his thoughts on a number of topics regarding his former club, including the signing of Sandro Tonali.
Albertini gave a long interview to La Gazzetta dello Sport (via MilanLive) about the Rossoneri’s market so far, and he started by assessing the team’s Italian core.
“In my generation the sense of belonging was one of the secrets to winning. Today Milan focuses on Italianness: Donnarumma, Romagnoli, Calabria, now Tonali,” he said.
“In my career I lived as a ‘foreigner’ in Spain and I assure you, having a block of your country that leads the others is fundamental.”
Tonali completed his move from Brescia several days ago on the basis of an initial high-paid loan with Milan obtaining an option to sign the player outright at the end of the season for 15 million euros. This is considered a mere formality considering the amount the club paid for the loan (10 million euros).
Albertini approves of the move: “He has all the qualities of a champion but we have to leave him alone. He must be able to grow, even if he fails.
“I hate comparisons. At my first as a starter at San Siro they told me ‘you look like Rivera’. Do you know what it means to live with parallels of this type? Many associate Tonali with Pirlo, but Andrea is unattainable, he is one of the top five midfielders in the history of Italian football.
“Let’s do this instead, relieve Sandro of this burden: he reminds me of Albertini. In certain movements he resembles me: even in posture, I had a déjà vu after seeing some photos. He knows how to defend and set up, he’s a modern midfielder like I was in the 90’s.”
Milan also managed to secure the renewal of Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a new one-year contract, but Albertini believes Milan should look at signing another striker.
“Zlatan is an asset, but I would take advantage of him to make another forward grow next to him. A young profile, perhaps to be signed from abroad. I know that at the moment the thoughts of the managers are elsewhere, but who knows, at the end of the market.”
On what is missing to complete the squad: “A high-level right winger is missing, Chiesa would be perfect. He is an amazing player, on the wing or as second striker alongside Ibra.
“And it would reinforce that concept of Italianness around which to design the Rossoneri’s future. The renewal of Donnarumma? It will depend on him, not on his agent.”
On friendship with Paolo Maldini: “We shared a lot together. Now Paolo is grappling with a tough challenge. I wish him to be able to achieve what he has done on the field.”
Finally, a general opinion on the future of Milan: “A group that will fight to return to the Champions League. We have been missing Milan for too long, but now I see synergy between club and team and it is a good start: even the fans must know that it is being built.
“Then we will have to compete, and with Juve and Inter virtually among the top four the race will be reduced to five clubs for two places.”