Tommaso Berni remains a vital presence within Inter’s dressing room despite never having played for the club, Corriere della Sera explained today.
Berni joined the Nerazzurri from Torino in 2014 and has not played a single minute in the six seasons which have followed.
However, the 36-year-old recently signed a new one-year extension to continue as their third goalkeeper behind Samir Handanovic and Daniele Padelli.
“Berni trains well, advises Inter’s younger players and has been a reference point for every coach the club has appointed since 2014,” the paper said.
“Earning €200,000 at a club where the wage bill comfortably surpasses €110 million, he is not your average footballer.”
Berni, who used to play the guitar before breaking his little finger, boasts a wide range of unconventional interests outside of football, including romantic novels and 1960s culture.
The Italian married his girlfriend Luna in Kenya in January but the couple are planning to renew their vows in Peru, Asia and other picturesque locations around the world.
“Berni is a curious and whimsical man who embraces diversity,” Corriere continued.
“His life changed when he read Sognavo L’Africa (‘I Dreamed of Africa’) by Kuki Gullman, an Italian writer and environmentalist who has lived in Kenya for many years.
“His wedding to Luna wasn’t the most conventional, given they celebrated it among the Pokot people in Kenya, a tribe which lives in the heart of Africa and celebrates century-old rituals.
“Berni’s decision to hold it there came down to his spirituality and a desire to discover ancient places from which man originated.”