Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali has opened up on his “difficult” transfer from AC Milan ahead of the two teams facing off in the Uefa Champions League.
The 23-year-old became the most expensive Italian footballer of all time when he moved for €70 million (£52m) in the summer.
The Italy international will be reunited with his former club when the Magpies take on the Rossoneri at San Siro on Tuesday night, with kickoff set for 17:45 BST.
“This is the team I support first of all and this is the team that gave me the chance for my dreams to come true,” Tonali said, via The Shields Gazette. “Now I return as a rival player to AC Milan.”
Reports in Italy claimed that Tonali had been forced into a move to St. James’ Park by AC Milan, but the player says that while it was a “difficult” decision to leave the club with whom he won the Scudetto in 2022, he was “happy” to join Newcastle.
“It’s very difficult for a player to ask for a transfer to a specific team,” he admitted. “A player is kind of limited in his willing to do what he wants, it’s difficult for a player to decide where you go, whether it’s Real Madrid or Barcelona or wherever.
“From the moment I received this offer [from Newcastle] I was happy because I did my best with AC Milan and I have worked with people who love me and will still love me.
“I talked about it thoroughly and made my final decision.”
Tonali added: On the pitch, everything changes when you switch from the Italian championship to the Premier League. At the beginning I was kind of lost and I received so much help by everybody under every aspect, language, sport and tactics.”