Sandro Tonali has revealed more about his decision to leave AC Milan in favour of a move to Newcastle United, insisting it was the right time to leave.
The decision to sell Tonali to Newcastle certainly generated a fiery reaction from a fan base that had already bid farewell to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paolo Maldini not long before, raising questions about whether the Rossoneri could become another Borussia Dortmund or RB Leipzig.
We asked James Horncastle from The Athletic on our latest podcast episode about how Tonali’s record-breaking move actually came about. One of the key things he confirmed was that the deal couldn’t have taken place unless the player wanted to go.
Tonali gave his first official interview to NUFC TV about the new challenge that awaits him and also why he decided to uproot and leave his boyhood club.
“There were many steps. The most important was the first, when they informed me of Newcastle’s interest. I immediately took it well because I knew that it was something real, concrete,” he said.
“So we reasoned differently than on all the other occasions in which we were contacted by clubs in the past. Every year there are teams interested, this time people have really shown that they really want me here at all costs.
“At Milan I went on a journey that ended with the semi-finals of the Champions League. The first year we fought for the title, the second year we managed to win it, the third year we didn’t make it but we went far ahead in the Champions League. So the people who convinced me to come here have been a key part of this transfer.”
On the Newcastle project: “It is a project that is being born, that has already been born, and that must be carried forward.”
On his farewell to Milan: “This has been one of the most difficult decisions since I’ve been a footballer. It was difficult but it had to be done, and the time had come to do it. We decided to take this new path.
“A very difficult decision, having overcome it will start an uphill journey because it will be difficult. But it is an opportunity and something to try.”
On the Scudetto won: “A fantastic year. We all learned a lot there. Every game was like a final. The first one to give up an inch could lose the title.
“In every game you had to win to get to the end and there were about 10 games to go. It was a good, sporting fight that rewarded us for what we did throughout the season.”