Among the many things he did when Gigi Riva retired, the top scorer in the history of the Italian team (35 goals in 42 games), was to create a football school in Cagliari, the city where he played throughout his career, far away. of his native Varese and of the great powers of the country. And there, in that quarry that he opened in Sardinia, in the middle of the Sardinian universe, grew one of the names that give meaning to this reborn Azzurra: Nicolo Barella. “He is different, he is emotional as a Sardinian”, the legend Gigi Riva recently defined this young man who he saw progress in his facilities. Raised in a middle-class family, the mother of Nic He wanted to attract him to basketball, but his self-confidence was stronger with a ball at his feet.
If Spain is largely explained by people like Pedri, the resurrection of Italy has come thanks to players like Barella, 24 years old and already the father of three daughters. Roberto Mancini never had doubts with this small midfielder (1.72m). Within months of picking up one National Sunk after not qualifying for the World Cup in Russia, she recruited this impulsive and long-driving medium without hesitation. “He made me start without looking at the shirt I was wearing [del Cagliari]”, The player, now from Inter, thanked a month before the Euro. He made his debut with the national team in the autumn of 2018 and did so together with Jorginho and Verratti, his two permanent companions in the Italian midfield in this tournament. Since then, he has only come out of the eleven very sporadically. Of the last 30 meetings, it has been the game in 24.
According to him, his strengths are “humility and authenticity.” And its Sardinian origin, of course. “I am very proud of it. I hope my colleagues and people appreciate it. ” His defect, he admits, “sometimes get carried away.” However, passionate analysts of the calcium They have always added another must: their lack of forcefulness against the rival goal. In all his career in the club elite, he has only added 14 goals in 215 games. A reproach based on real events against which Barella rebelled this Friday in the quarters of the Euro scoring a great goal. First he slipped inside the area of three Belgians (Thorgan Hazard, Vermaelen and Vertonguen) and then he punished Courtois with a cross shot. It was his first goal really with Italy, in a great championship, the sixth in total.
His is assists. Nobody has given more than him at Inter this past season (13), which has helped him to establish himself with the award for best midfielder in Serie A. During his time at Valdebebas, in the Champions League that ended so badly for his team (fourth and eliminated from everything), he left a wonderful one for Lautaro Martínez. He received a rough delivery from Brozovic on the front and the Sardo connected spur and in the air with the Argentine striker, who adjusted well against Courtois.
“Conte has helped me a lot. Before it was crazy and now I am more orderly, “said Nicolo Barella about his passionate Inter coach, of which he recognizes, yes, the difficulty of” getting into their mechanisms. ” And the coach from southern Italy has rewarded him by turning to him tirelessly on the way to Scudetto. Only goalkeeper Handanovic participated more than the midfielder last season. Lotthar Matthäus, who played four years in the box nerrazzurro, has not taken his eyes off him: “He has perfectly understood the responsibilities of a modern medium in all its facets. He works a lot ”, he assured.
“He has perfectly understood the responsibilities of a modern medium in all its facets. Works a lot”
So now, with his good performance in the last season and the European Championship showcase, his price has skyrocketed and Inter’s intention is to extend his contract (he has it until 2024) and improve his salary of 2.5 million per year, that place him in the lower-middle part of the locker room (Lukaku and Eriksen are in the lead with 7.5).
It did not cost him cheap either in 2019: no less than 45 million had to pay the Milanese entity to Cagliari, where the player had become the youngest captain of the club, with 20 years, a true local reference. He was chased by, among others, Atlético, Napoli and Chelsea. According to the sports director of the Sardinian entity, his rojiblanco counterpart, Andrea Berti, met with the Sardinian president in the 2019 winter market to discuss the operation, something the Italian club refused then. Six months later, he had no choice but to agree to sell it to Inter, albeit getting a good cut.
Now Nicolo Barella is looking for the second Eurocup of the Azzurra, a journey in which he will meet Spain this Tuesday in the semifinals. The only one that Italy has got it in 1968 with Gigi Riva, who did not play in the quarterfinals, the semifinals or the first chapter of the final, but who returned from injury for the tiebreaker against Yugoslavia in the final duel for title and scored the first goal (2-0). The student also wants to leave his mark.
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