Tonali admits he has had to ‘change everything’ to fit in at Newcastle after Milan exit

By Oliver Fisher -

Sandro Tonali has admitted that he has had to change himself a bit compared to how he was at AC Milan in order to fit in at his new club Newcastle United.

After the new of Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara’s sackings, there was more difficult news for Milan fans to digest as Tonali – a boyhood fan of the club – was sold in a club-record deal. We tried to cover all angles regarding the move in a feature.

Yesterday Tonali made his first Premier League start and it could hardly have gone any better. Not only did Newcastle win 5-1 against Aston Villa to go top of the table for the time being, but the Italian opened his account with a volley after less than six minutes.

Tonali spoke to Sky after the game to reflect on what he described as a ‘dream’ debut in front of a sell-out crowd at St. James’ Park, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.

“I’m in a different reality than Milan, you have to change everything, even yourself a bit. You don’t do the same things as before, you can’t find the friends you used to have at home,” he said.

“They are two very distant lives but there is always the professionalism, I never miss it. I felt the warmth of the fans, they cheered me on right from the start. And talking to the coach after the match, I understood how happy he was and how much he loves me.”

Tags AC Milan Sandro Tonali


  1. I saw his performance last night and he was just class in every sense…New country new environment and new set up he simply went on and on and on….mind it he was playing in 3 midfield set up on right hand side and phew never knew his offensive qualities…..the way he took the whole team forward was mind blowing…..I don’t know is Mr howe is a good coach but he did made played tonali like a beast…..he will be a 100m plus player by end of the year……being an Italian national team fan he will be such an asset for national side…best of luck Sandro sky is the limit..

      1. Maybe it’s us (or more specifically, Pioli) who’s holding his back the whole time. Happy to see him getting the kind of environment that can truly bring the best out of him. Happy that I don’t have to see some nonsense coming out from this comment section regarding how average Tonali is, 70 mil is a deal of a lifetime, and other balderdash. And that, coming from someones, who call themselves a supporter / fans.

        1. Way to overreact from 1 Fact is Milan needed to strengthen our midfield and attack, and the sale of Tonali allowed us to do that. It was the right move and Milan is a stronger and deeper team now.

          1. Did we need to strengthen with 8 new signings just to figure out a way of beating the likes of Cremonese?

            We did the worst of every world: we lost a key player which already caused upheaval and then went on binge signing random players none of whom are natural replacements!

            And we have actually lost a dead ball specialist which is what we needed to beat Cremonese!

          2. You remember Yonghong Li era? How many players we brought in? How they adapt? Hopefully, Pioli is masterclass enough (which I think he is not) to integrate all new signings.

          3. @MaldinisHeir. Yes, as a matter of fact we did. As last season we needed an injury time goal from Messias just to draw with Cremonese. Our midfield last season with the “italian Golden Boy” got bossed by everyone, so yes, changes were needed. And we are deeper and stronger now at Midfield and attack.
            I’m happy for Tonali and I hope he does well at Newcastle, but the team is better off now because of his sale.

        2. Like Pioli got him to play when we won the Scudetto.

          I would applaud Newcastle on having a focused transfer window. 4 new signings. End of.

          If our directors had been in charge they would’ve signed 24 new players!

          1. What freakin deadball specialist, you clown? When was the last time Tonali scored a free-kick or did anything special from one outside of corners? You’re pathetic.

          2. Right. Because Tonali was a dead ball specialist? Milan’s corners and set pieces were among the worst in professional football. Haven’t delivered a good ball in since Calhanoglu left.

    1. Eddie Howe is an amazing coach and after many years as a young manager at Bournemouth he’s really only now being appreciated. Sandro is in very good hands👍

    2. Maybe it’s us (or more specifically, Pioli) who’s holding his back the whole time. Happy to see him getting the kind of environment that can truly bring the best out of him. Happy that I don’t have to see some nonsense coming out from this comment section regarding how average Tonali is, 70 mil is a deal of a lifetime, and other balderdash. And that, coming from someones, who call themselves a supporter / fans.

      1. He is average. Don’t let one dominant game fool you. We had him last season and how good were we? The answer is we were garbage.

  2. Really happy to see sandrino doing well, he deserves it. Only thing I regret is not selling him for more when you see them throwing 130M for Caicedo

    1. My only retort is maybe they deem someone “premiership proven” so won’t spend quite as much on a player from a perceived “slightly weaker league” so perhaps we couldn’t have extracted too much more from Newcastle.

      But yeah you never know, if we had acted stubborn like Levy at spurs, Newcastle may have come back with a 75, 85, maybe €95mn deal, especially if they enquired to Brighton how much Caicedo would cost.

      For heavens sake even the 19yr old with one season is being demanded 50mn and that’s a relegated club! Crazy that we can even compete with that difference in financial muscle. Hopefully we can still go far in this year’s UCL I still dream of us one day getting that 8th European Cup.

      Forza Milan

      1. *incase it wasn’t clear from my post, the 19yr old is Lavia, a Belgian defensive midfielder at Southampton. They signed him a year ago for barely €10mn

      2. Newcastle wouldn’t have paid any more due to the FFP restrictions placed on us. We would have moved on, but we found a deal that made everyone happy but Milan fans (although the budget we’ve given you has improved your squad massively) As for Lavia he was from Man City’s youth academy, he was sold with both buy vack and sell on cluases which is why the price is boosted. Also he’s 19 with a year of Premier league experience now, he will get better and better.

    1. Haven’t been following Newcastle since Asprilla and Shearer, but watched the highlights from the opening game. Must be an exiting time to be a Newcastle fan. Botman seems solid, the midfield is strong and Isak looks silky af.

  3. It’s cause Howe is constructing a team with precision to his needs. He knows exactly what he wants and needs. His team play as a coherent whole. If Tonali stays healthy, he will be one of the best in his generation with Howe.

    Pioli is also constructing a team based on his vision so let’s see what Mister will cook for us.

  4. he would always be our boy. I believe a lot of Milan fans have started to follow Newcastle because of Sandrino. Our pride and joy. All the best for you always.

  5. Just out of concern..have you ever seen a mackum in milan….?…they walk about with CHUMPionship badges on their cheesy chip stained tatty shirts…you cant miss them..

  6. I hope we have a sell on fee set, that being said, he moved to a club that doesn’t need money so who knows when or if they will sell him.

    The only way I see him moving is if Real, Barca, City or Bayern come knocking on the door.

    While we were busy trying to make a profit off of a sale of the club, instead of securing our primary targets and director, Newcastle signed a player that was ours and just waiting to put his name on the contract. Instead, we got pulverized in defense, had one of the worst follow up seasons after winning a title in modern history, then sold our best midfielder the year after.

    Make or break this year.

    Well done Sandro. One performance of yours is worth what we can hope to get out of three players. At 4 times your wages, good business at the club. No wonder our greatest of all time refused to lick boots and left.

      1. 🤣🤣😂😂 Maldini played his whole career for us and had much more longevity, as great as Van Basten is. Both are considered as some of the greatest in their respective positions.

        1. Does that make Billy Costacurta the 2nd greatest?
          He played almost as long as Maldini and won everything Maldini won.
          Maldini is Milan biggest legend.
          Greatest defender of all time.
          Greatest Milan player, nah.
          Van Basten retired at 28 because of botched ankle surgery that caused him to miss a lot of time during his career and the man still had 3 balon d’or awards. CR7 by that age only had 1.
          Van Basten is the greatest Milan player of all time and it’s not even close. Greatest striker of all time as well.
          Maldini is just the biggest legend especially when you add his family success with Milan.

          1. Man stop saying trash. Stop playing blind.
            Even the dead knows who the greatest Milan player of all time is.
            What trash are you writing here?

            What is biggest legend of all time but not greatest of all time for Milan 🤣🤣
            And some dumb fellows will agree with this.

            So funny 🤣 😆 😄

          2. @Malda
            biggest legend means he is the most popular Milan player of all time, especially with that last name, considering that his father was also a Milan captain and won bunch of scudetti and won the UCL/ European cup.
            Maldini at no point in his career was Milan best player, while Van Basten not only was Milan best player at the time but also the best player in the world.
            So outside of longevity, and family heritage what would make Maldini Milan Greatest player?

          3. Only from your personal point of view.
            Maldini is both the biggest or most popular legend and the greatest Milan player of all time and that’s what he is.

            You can’t be saying a different thing while 10/10 of the sites I have checked are saying something different.

            Man it seems you got a personal hate on Maldini for nothing 😒 that’s what it looks like right now.
            You know the truth, you know the fact but because of the hate you now have on Maldini you play blind to admit it.

            So funny and crazy
            MVB is a Milan great and a Milan legend doesn’t mean he’s above Maldini in any of the above mentioned criteria.

  7. Saw the game by accident as my tv just happened to be on the game at the time. Man oh man. A goal and two hockey assists. He was definitely offensively involved. Still major issues with his defensive positions and tracking back but with Guimaraes and joelinton he could prob afford it.
    Never knew why ppl said he was bad at set pieces. First of all the number of goals scored from set pieces is low on average for any team…of our 11 goals scored from set pieces last year he was responsible for 3 of them which is about a third 🤷‍♂️. Granted this is likely that he took alot of them but still….🤷‍♂️

    1. Another bizarre thing with the chopping and changing and constant fiddling we see in Serie A is they can’t settle on set piece takers!

      For years Milan and other Serie A teams have kept changing their set piece takers multiple times during a game.

      Tonali scored a free kick the season before and was banned from taking free kicks since!

      Added to that is the obsession with short corners and then hoofing balls in from central free kicks 40 yards out….

      1. Free kicks are a thing where it takes two to tango. You whip the ball in as needed…either high, low, looping, driven for what the occasion merits.
        Barca made fooled ppl into this short corner nonsense. It was because they had a team.of short guys who were massively better at passing and scoring than heading..added to that when they did go direct its because everyone thought they’d go short lol 😂and then they’d score …hence when the situation calls for you adjust as needed

  8. Yeah, watching the highlights of the match, it was a lot closer than the 5-1 score.
    Newcastle’s midfield three are all very heavily offensive oriented players, including Tonali. So, they did not have a true 6 or defensive midfielder in the match.
    This showed, as their defensive back line was exposed time and again in fast break counterattacks by Villa.
    Both sides chose to play a wide open offense oriented game – Villa was definitely not playing a low block, and this is what left Villa’s defense exposed time and again also.
    The difference was the finishing – Newcastle made their shots count, Villa did not.
    It will be interesting to see what happens when Newcastle plays teams with better finishing than Villa.

    1. You must be a villa fan, as with better finishing from the toon, the score would have been 9..3 the clear cut chances Newcastle had .

    2. Holy crap. Bro you gleaned that from the highlights? Dude your spot on about their midfield defense not being great. It has lots of holes. Not sure why they chose the “433” though I thought in spells they resorted back to their tried and true 442 from last year (and yes I saw some.of their games last year too, even before the Tonali sale lol). Seems if they ran into a more organized team, it might breathe chaos

  9. Tonali was a big talent at brescia, milan fans said he is average and overrated, newcastle fans embraced and loved him, he is doing big things again, wonder which team has problem

    1. Exactly. He will have more goals and assists in PL than Reijnders in Serie A – “the new Gullit”. I personally think we replaced gold with trash, but we’ll see soon.

  10. Looks like we sold Tonali for much LESS than we should have. Rice for 128M; Caiecdo for 146M, Lavin 77M, etc….and we only sold Tonali for 65M plus bonus?? Should have waited for the market to set. Going rate for an mid in the EPL is 100M….Fine that we sold him, but missed out on big $$

  11. Fans getting carried away as usual, after only one game. We had this overrated clown last season and we were still garbage. We are better now.

  12. Get real. He has one good game for Newcastle against Aston Villa and now he is Zidane or something. None of those clubs you mentioned are ever coming knocking for Tonali. Our midfield this year will be better than it was last year. It would be hard for it to be worse.
    You seem to be confused as to the timing of things. Milan had a bad season last year because our midfield was getting bossed by everyone, because our “greatest of all time” let our best midfielder Kessie leave for free (just like he did with Calhanoglu and Donnarumma) and didn’t replace him. Tonali and Bennacer could not fill those shoes. And Maldini didn’t leave. he was sacked.

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