Rafael Leao, the AC Milan talisman, was left stunned by the sudden departure of Sandro Tonali, who has been dubbed “Gattuso’s heir,” to Newcastle.
Leao, Tonali’s former teammate, expressed his surprise, confessing that he never anticipated Tonali’s exit from the club during this summer transfer window.
The news of Tonali’s move to Newcastle United took the rest of the Premier League by surprise when it was confirmed on Monday.
While the Magpies’ acquisition of the highly regarded Italian international went unnoticed and uncontested, it marked another significant addition to their Champions League aspirations. Tonali, expected to partner with Bruno Guimaraes in midfield, possesses all the necessary qualities to thrive under Eddie Howe’s management.
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Previously hailed as the next Andrea Pirlo, given his beginnings at Brescia, Tonali’s comparisons have evolved, with many now labeling him as “the next Gattuso.” Leao, who himself was once tipped for a lucrative move to Chelsea, had envisioned Tonali staying at AC Milan for the long term.
As a dedicated Milan supporter and a player who played a crucial role in their Serie A triumph, Tonali’s departure shocked not only the Milanista faithful but also the wider football community.
Leao, speaking on his YouTube channel, acknowledged Tonali’s importance to the team, stating, “He made the difference in midfield, I saw him as Gattuso’s heir because he’s been a Milan fan since he was a child. He was someone I expected to see at Milan for many years.”
Leao maintained a good relationship with Tonali and took the opportunity to wish him well in his new adventure, including the U21 Euros, despite the video being recorded prior to Italy’s exit from the tournament. Leao concluded by expressing his hope for Tonali’s success in his future endeavors.