Andrea Pirlo Names The Most Promising Player In Italy Who Is 'More Complete' Than Him
Andrea Pirlo believes Sandro Tonali is "the most promising" midfielder in Italy but doesn't feel the 20-year old is the heir to his throne.
Like Pirlo, Tonali hails from Lombardi, and has drawn comparisons with the Azzurri legend thanks to his style of play, appearance and the fact he plays for Brescia - the club where Pirlo started out.
He's been dubbed 'the new Pirlo' on a number of occasions but while Pirlo acknowledges some similarities, he believes Tonali is more complete than him and tips him to have a great career in the game.
Pirlo told Gazzetta dello Sport: "They say Tonali may be my heir. In my opinion, as a type of footballer he doesn't look like me, he looks more like me for long hair and for the fact that you play in Brescia.
"For me he is another type of player, much more complete, both in defense and in setting; it's a mix between me and other players.
"He is certainly the most promising of the midfielders in Italy. I don't see him as an heir because the way of playing is different, but he will certainly become a great player. "
Tonali shares the same opinion as the former Juventus and AC Milan man - and actually thinks he's more comparable to the tough-tackling Gennaro Gattuso.
More Like ThisMore Like This
"As for the Pirlo comparisons, he inspired me but I've never seen another like him," Tonali said, as per Football Italia.
"Maybe my hair is similar. My role model was [Gennaro] Gattuso in terms of grit."
Having made his first-team debut as a 17-year old in 2017, Tonali has made some serious waves. He's looked completely at home in Serie A with bottom club Brescia and already been handed his Italy national team debut by Roberto Mancini.
A number of leading European clubs have shown interest in Tonali, who has a contract until 2021.
But Brescia owner Massimo Cellino says he would only sell for a world-record price.
"For me he is worth €300m (£259m), which means I don't want to sell," Cellino told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I have a dream. If Sandro accepts, I am ready to make a big financial sacrifice to extend his contract. It's up to him to decide. He can stay here and enjoy his football, or go to a big club and risk being left on the bench.
"All the big Italian clubs [have been in contact]. Abroad there's Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, but in my view, he'd be better off remaining as a protagonist with Brescia."