Sandro Tonali (born 8 May 2000) is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Serie A club Brescia Calcio and the Italy national football team.
Tonali made his professional debut for Brescia Calcio on 26 August 2017, aged 17, coming on as a substitute in the Serie B away match lost 2–1 against Avellino. On 28 April 2018 he scored his first professional career goal, in a 4–2 defeat against Salernitana in Serie B. He obtained 19 league appearances in total during his first season as a professional player, scoring two goals and providing two assists during the 2017–18 Serie B season.
The following season, Tonali won the Serie B title with Brescia, and achieved promotion to Serie A, featuring as a starter for the club throughout the entire 2018–19 season.
He made his Serie A debut on 25 August 2019, aged 19, in a 1–0 away win against Cagliari. On 29 September, he assisted Mario Balotelli's goal from a corner kick in a 2–1 away loss to Napoli; he also scored a goal during the match with a powerful shot from outside the area, which was disallowed by VAR, however, for a foul by Brescia's Dimitri Bisoli on Napoli's Nikola Maksimović. He scored his first Serie A goal on 26 October, netting a superb long-range free kick into the top corner from the left flank, which was the opening goal in an eventual 3–1 away defeat to Genoa.
With the Italy U19 he took part in the 2018 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, reaching the final of the tournament lost 4–3 after extra time against Portugal.
In November 2018, he was called for the first time to the senior national team by manager Roberto Mancini.
He made his debut with the Italy U21 team on 21 March 2019, in a 0–0 friendly draw against Austria in Trieste.
He took part in the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
After appearing for the Italy U21 side in a 0–0 away draw against Ireland on 10 October 2019, in a European qualifier, he was called up to the Italy senior squad once again the following day, for the team's Euro 2020 qualifiers against Greece and Liechtenstein. He made his senior international debut on 15 October, coming on as a substitute in the 5–0 away win against Liechtenstein in Vaduz. His first start for Italy came in his following appearance on 15 November, a 3–0 away win over Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Style of play
Regarded as a promising young Italian player in his position in the media, Tonali is a regista, and is often likened to Andrea Pirlo – who also started his career with Brescia – in terms of his movement, coordination, appearance, technical qualities, position, and playing style. A strong, energetic, elegant, and creative, midfielder, with excellent vision and an ability to read the game, Tonali usually plays in a central or defensive midfield role as deep-lying playmaker in a 4–3–3 formation, and shows maturity and character beyond his young age. Dictating play for Brescia with his passing in midfield, he set up two goals and even scored two himself in his 19 appearances in Serie B during the 2017–18 season. Although naturally right-footed, he is known for his accurate long passing ability with either foot. In addition to Pirlo, Tonali has also cited Steven Gerrard and Luka Modrić as influences, and has also compared his own playing style to that of Gennaro Gattuso. In July 2019, he was named by UEFA as one of the 50 promising young players to watch for the 2019–20 season.
- As of match played 24 January 2020
- As of 18 November 2019
|Italy national team|
- Serie B: 2018–19
- UEFA European Under-19 Championship runner-up: 2018
- UEFA European Under-19 Championship Team of the Tournament: 2018
- Serie B Footballer of the Year: 2018
- Serie B Best Young Player: 2019