Sandro Tonali’s growth path continues as he has become one of the best midfielders in Serie A, something he showed during the win over Inter on Saturday night.
La Gazzetta dello Sport writes how there was an emblematic moment during the derby as Theo Hernandez was on the ground hurt after a challenge and Inter’s Denzel Dumfries tried to lift him up to hasten the resumption of the game while the Nerazzurri were a goal down, but Tonali intervened and pushed him away yelling: “Theo is a team-mate of mine, go away, I’ll take care of helping him get up.”
Tonali in 2021-22 is a completely different player compared to the last season during which he seemed somewhat bewildered at times. The data showed it too, as the then-20-year-old recovered far fewer balls and had less passes, dribbles, crosses and opportunities created.
Then, something clicked in terms of personality and trust and now he can be talked about in the same bracket as Brozovic, Fabian Ruiz, Locatelli, De Roon, Pellegrini and Milinkovic-Savic. Brozovic has completed double his passes (1581 against 756), Milinkovic-Savic and Pellegrini double him in terms of shots and Locatelli has recovered 13 more balls than him, but the point is that Sandro is a mix of the ideal features from each.
Numbers aside, it is Tonali’s attitude on the pitch that gets fans going the most and the feeling is that he already has everything he needs to join the group of vice-captains and thus ‘reserve’ the armband for the future, all while waiting for the renewal of his contract with a pay rise, which is on the horizon.