Alessandro Bastoni admits that he wanted to leave Inter Milan in the first season under coach Antonio Conte.
Speaking on the “Frog Talks” podcast of ex-Nerazzurri defender Andrea Ranocchia, via FCInterNews, the 24-year-old noted that it was Conte who insisted that he stick around.
Now, the thought of Bastoni being pushed out at Inter is almost unthinkable.
The Italian international is one of the Nerazzurri’s most important players. He has been for several years now.
The reason for this is Bastoni’s perfect suitability for the left-sided role in Inter’s back three.
The 24-year-old can defend well in the wide areas, and also make a big contribution to the team’s attack.
Bastoni’s pace, technical ability, and willingness to push forward have been key. As has hive excellent deliveries into the penalty area when he gets forward.
Current Inter coach Simone Inzaghi has exploited these qualities from Bastoni to good effect.
But it had been Conte who first used Bastoni in his current role.
Like Inzaghi, the former Chelsea, Juventus, and Italy coach uses a back three almost dogmatically. And he found in Bastoni a perfect player for the left of his defensive system.
Alessandro Bastoni: Pushed To Leave Inter In 2019, Conte Insisted I Stay
Bastoni looked back at the summer preceding his early time at Inter, arriving in 2017. “I joined from Atalanta,” he said.
“I was an Inter player, and I spent three weeks here before going on loan to Parma,” he continued.
The 24-year-old recalled that “I had torn my meniscus. The first two seasons, it caused problems for me. But not now…”
“After my first season at Parma, I was fortunate enough that Conte came to Milan,” bastoni said.
The defender admitted that “I fought to leave.”
“They had just signed Godin. Skriniar and de Vrij were already there.”
Competition for places looked to be fierce for a then-teenaged Bastoni.
“I had played 25 games at Parma, which was a good season. But he [Conte] insisted I stay.”
Bastoni noted that “Every now and then I talk about it with Barella.”
“We had to put in an incredible amount of work under Conte. But we were happy to have gone through that.”
The defender noted that “When Inzaghi arrived, he found a perfect group of player. Everyone had that mentality to succeed.”
“There was not one player who wouldn’t play on the weekend and then would train badly.”
“For us younger players, it was good to spend some years playing behind veterans like Brozovic, Handanovic.”
Recalling Champions League Final Vs Man City
And Bastoni also looked back on last season’s Champions League final.
“That match gave a lot to us,” the Italian said of the 0-1 loss to Manchester City in Istanbul last June.
“But we were also coming into it from a great journey.”
“We all got together and looked at the twelve times that we had lost in the league. We were getting bypassed too easily.”
“So we stuck together,” Bastoni continued. “We all defended as a unit.”
“Against City we saw the level that we can remain at. And this season, we started the way we had left off.”
“This season we’ll try again,” Bastoni said of the Champions League. “Absolutely.”
“It was great to reach the final,” he went on. “And it would be really great to win.”
The Inter defender admitted that “The final was almost surreal.”
“When we began at the start of the season we thought we’d be watching it on TV.”
“Instead, you’re there. And you feel like you can almost touch it.”
“We were very calm,” Bastoni said of that final. “And on the pitch you could feel the pressure on them to win.”
“We really tried to win. And we even had a couple chances to do it.”
“I think they were really surprised at how we played,” Bastoni added.