Albertini: “Tonali has everything to become an icon for the club, we must remember everything is in his hands”

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Demetrio Albertini during the Panchina D’Oro Prize Award at Centro Tecnico Federale di Coverciano on February 3, 2020. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Demetrio Albertini spoke about Sandro Tonali, saying it will take time but the midfielder can become a bandiera.

Albertini knows a thing or two about being a Milan legend: 13 season at Milan in his career, winning everything from the Scudetto to the Champions League and Intercontinental Cups.

The former midfielder spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Marco Fallisi to talk about Sandro Tonali – who was one of the key men in a season that saw Milan win the Scudetto for the first time since 2011.

Will Tonali be Milan’s next bandiera?
“Age, sense of belonging, tireless spirit, representative of the Italian block in the team, Sandro has everything to become an icon for the club, I’ve been saying this since he arrived at Milan and was struggling. We must remember, however, that everything is now in his hands. It’s very right that the new ownership decides to make him a pillar, a player like Tonali is fundamental to build the foundations of the Milan of the future, but it will be up to him to take up the challenge and nurture it over time.”

Sandro Tonali during Italy training session at Centro Tecnico Federale di Coverciano on June 09, 2022. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Is it too early to envision him as a long-term symbol?
“There is a time for everything. Tonali turned 22 in May, he must have time to experience all the stages without forcing it: today he is a protagonist of the Campioni d’Italia, tomorrow he will become a leader and then a senator. And at that point we can really talk about a bandiera.”

Milan will soon discuss a salary adjustment for him: is it fair to reward him now?
“If we look at the season that just ended, I would say it’s normal: Tonali had a great year. If we speak more generally, I think that contracts should be respected, that they cannot be adjusted year after year. In Sandro’s history at Milan, however, there was the gesture of cutting his salary in order to stay: it is a positive anomaly, a rarity that we have seen very few other times in the world of football and it is right that the club recognizes it in some way.”

Sandro Tonali and Davide Calabria celebrating the Scudetto on the team bus on May 23, 2022. (@acmilan.com)

Tying down the big players to avoid farewells for free: does the Cardinale line convince you?
“It’s certainly a good starting point for a winning project over the years. However, I speak as an observer, I’ve never conducted a mercato and I know very well that in negotiations for renewals other evaluations come into play. Today it’s not easy to avoid approaching a contract expiration without some ‘shiver’.”

What will be the main obstacle for upcoming renewals on the agenda?
“A player who wins the Scudetto sees his value increase and consequently his interests grow in the negotiations phase. In the end it’s a question of budget: how much will the new ownership invest in contract renewals?”

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