Totti: Tonali will become one of the strongest central midfielders in the world

Francesco Totti backed Sandro Tonali to become one of the world's best midfielders similar to Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard or Daniele De Rossi.

Brescia midfielder Tonali, 19, is linked with some of Europe's biggest clubs, having made his Italy debut late last year.

Barcelona, Juventus, Inter and Milan are reportedly interested in the midfielder, who has been compared to Italy great Andrea Pirlo.

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Totti, an Italy and Roma great, believes Tonali will develop into one of the world's best.

"He will become one of the strongest central midfielders in the world, like Gerrard, De Rossi or Lampard," he told TV presenter Paolo Bonolis during an Instagram Live chat on Thursday.

"He's a mix between Pirlo and [Gennaro] Gattuso too. He has everything a player can have.

"He has an incredible change of pace, he's technically good and he's always calm, both in important games and in easy games."

Speaking in late 2019,  Tonali insisted he wasn't "not scared" about his €300 million ($330m) price tag as Europe's elite eye a future transfer. 

Brescia owner and president Massimo Cellino previously said it would take an offer of that sum for the Serie A side to part with their prized asset. 

"I love president Cellino very much and he rates me highly," Tonali told Rai Sport. "He's a great person and I hope to travel down a good road with him.

"After the match against Fiorentina, he said he wouldn't even sell me for €300m, but that doesn't scare me, even if it really is a lot of money.

"I'm confident about what we'll do this season. For now I'm not thinking about the market, I just want to help Brescia stay up."

Tonali has also become accustomed to comparisons to Pirlo and Gattuso, but refuses to give them too much thought. 

"Being compared to Pirlo doesn't bother me, but I think we're very different because he had indescribable technique and quality," he said. 

"I consider myself to be like Gattuso but more technical. He's always been my role model."

Prior to the suspension of Serie A due to the coronavirus, Tonali had made 23 league appearances, scoring once and contributing five assists for Brescia. 

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