Legendary former Inter midfielder Nicola Berti believes that current Nerazzurri star Nicolo Barella has the same qualities that he did as a player.
Speaking to Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio on his website Grand Hotel Calciomercato, the 54-year-old gave his praise to Barella and spoke about the kind of playing style the 24-year-old has, and how it resembles his own from his playing days.
Barella has been one of the Nerazzurri’s most eye-catching players since joining from Cagliari in the summer of 2019, and was virtually undroppable during last season when the club won their first Scudetto in eleven years.
Berti spoke about his own Inter career, and drew parallels to that of the former Cagliari man, with the current Nerazzurri man something of a protege to the now-retired Nerazzurri legend.
“Barella is incredible,” he said. “I see myself in him. I have his number and we exchange a few messages every now and then. I tell him to go to bed early. I love it, he has the same desire I had. Did you see the assist of the second goal against Sampdoria? I mean…”
The 54-year-old reflected on important episodes in his own career, specifically the season just prior to the summer of the 1994 World Cup and how he could have joined Real Madrid.
“In the 1993-94 season I was injured for most of the season. I came back only at the end, among other things scoring some important goals for safety. However, Inter had doubts about my physical condition, so they waited to renew my contract expiring for the summer,” he said.
“I was called up by the national team for the World Cup in the United States,” the former midfielder went on, “And I was the only Inter player and the only one who did not have a contract already signed for the following season. A friend of mine, who was managing my career, had some contacts with Real Madrid.”
“They wanted me,” he said of the Merengues. “they were convinced of me. Even in previous years there had been the beginning of negotiations, but nothing more. There were too many complications and no agreement was found.”
He went on, “They proposed that I live near Milanello, so I would be comfortable for training. Besides, they even told me that they would put two bodyguards at my disposal! I was the idol of the Nerazzurri fans and such a transfer would have been dangerous in those years.”
He concluded his story, “In the end, Inter took matters into their own hands and Pellegrini contacted me to sign the contract renewal.”