Pirlo: Tonali is the best midfielder in Serie A, but he's not my heir

The Brescia teenager has been linked with some of the world’s biggest clubs, and his Italy icon believes he is ready for the step up

Brescia starlet Sandro Tonali is already the best midfielder in Serie A, according to Andrea Pirlo.

Juventus, Liverpool and Chelsea are among a host of clubs to have been linked with the 19-year-old, and Pirlo believes he would fit in at any top side.

However, when asked by the Gazzetta dello Sport if he believed Tonali was the heir to his own midfield throne, Pirlo wasn’t so sure.

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“No,” he said. “He is very good but he is different from me on the pitch.

“He has everything to be a champion but he is more a midfielder for a two-man midfield. He could already play for a great team; he is the best in this league.”

Tonali helped Brescia win promotion from Serie B last season, and he has continued to star for them in the top flight.

He has been almost ever-present for them, missing just three league games through suspension since the beginning of 2018-19 – though with Brescia currently bottom of Serie A, it would be a big surprise to see him stay there for another year.

Pirlo, meanwhile, is looking forward to pastures new as well. After retiring from the game in 2017, he is ready to return to it in a coaching role.

“I have already spoken to someone, I will start in July,” he revealed.

“I really want to start a new, totally different path. I think I can become a good football coach, I can pass on my ideas.

“I have my personality, I have always made myself heard and understood. Playing well helps you get there.”

Pirlo credits former Juventus manager Antonio Conte as his coaching inspiration, though he is also keen to learn from current Juve boss Maurizio Sarri.

“It was because of [Conte] that I started thinking about being a coach,” Pirlo added.

“He is the best I have had, he showed us 40 to 50 minutes of videos every day. I told myself I could do it and I wanted to do it too. Getting started was the important thing.

“In the next few months I will go and follow [Sarri] in his day-to-day work, to find out his methods.

“There is some negativity around him, perhaps because the fans expected more.

“But Sarri has done well wherever he has gone, from Naples to London, and now to Juve where he is leading another big season.

“Juve can win the Champions League. That is what they have been built for and I don’t see opponents who are more structured than them.”

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