It is going to be a special night at the San Siro for Newcastle United, but it means even more to one member of Eddie Howe’s squad.
Sandro Tonali only just left AC Milan, and now he is on his way back. The Champions League draw put his new employers against his old employers, and now he is heading back to the stadium where he was once adored.
The 23-year-old is still loved in Milan, and is expected to receive a warm reception when he walks out onto the San Siro pitch in Newcastle colours.
It will be an emotional evening for Tonali, who is expected to start in midfield for the Magpies. He will be keen to do well, and his Toon teammate Callum Wilson has admitted that all the players are ‘buzzing’ for him ahead of his Milan homecoming.
Callum Wilson ‘buzzing’ for Sandro Tonali ahead of AC Milan return
Wilson has spoke on The Footballer’s Football Podcast about Tonali facing his former club in the Champions League.
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“Yeah I’m happy for him,” he said.
“We all sat and watched the draw together. When that one came out for him, we were buzzing because he’s loved there, only recently just left, all his family friends are from there. I’t’s going to be a nice moment.
“But it’s business as usual. All the kisses and cuddles with the opposition can wait until after.”
Written in the stars for Tonali and Newcastle
It felt inevitable that Newcastle were going to play AC Milan in the Champions League. With Tonali’s arrival on Tyneside and Toon fans singing about going to Italy, being drawn against Stefano Pioli’s side was written in the stars.
Playing at the San Siro will be a daunting occasion for these Newcastle players, but one that they will absolutely relish. But for Tonali, it will feel like home.
Those home comforts could help the midfielder, who has endured a mixed start to life in black and white. He will be eager to impress tonight, and prove that he made the right decision in leaving the Rossoneri for Newcastle United.
It is going to be a special night, but Tonali must try to put sentiment aside for 90 minutes. As Wilson says, the kisses and cuddles can wait until full time.