AC Milan midfielder Sandro Tonali has won the coveted Golden Boy awarded for the Best Italian Player U21.
Milan pulled off one of the most impressive coups of the summer when they swooped in to land Tonali on a loan with option to buy deal just as it seemed the player was destined to join rivals Inter.
Although he has been slowly integrated into Stefano Pioli’s 4-2-3-1 system, fans are beginning to see just how much potential the 20-year-old has, as he has started in four of the last five games.
The media attention is probably enough for Tonali to know he is doing something right, but the receipt of the best Italian player under the age of 21 certainly helps show his progress.
The award is presented yearly by Tuttosport, and after learning if his victory Tonali offered some comments to the newspaper which have been transcribed by MilanNews.
“When you win, everything changes. Going to Milan was one of the best things I’ve experienced. Winning with them is even more beautiful, we hope to continue,” he said.
On Gattuso: “He gave me a lot of advice that I have already said in other interviews. I have a great relationship with him, I hope to continue and get to know him even better.”
On playing with the Milan players and with Ibrahimovic: “With Ibra it was the easiest, he jokes a lot and lives his team-mates a lot. He is our leader.
“I already had a good relationship with the Italians before, I knew some of the others as opponents. We are one group.”
On the European Championship next summer: “It would be an honour to be part of the 23. We try to give everything every week, getting to summer is long. You have to be focused first with the club’s matches, it’s no secret but you have to think one game at a time.”
On his idols: “I don’t like having any. Years ago I was inspired by Modric, he is also a nice player to see when he plays. I don’t want to look at a player and say ‘I’m inspired by this’.”