MILAN – It was all about football, football and only football from the get-go for Nicolo Barella. He developed this passion as a child, watching game after game alongside his father, imagining himself there on the pitch getting stuck in. Ever since he first kicked a ball Barella has been a whirlwind of energy.
In the first episode of the new Inter TV feature titled “Careers” (watch Inter TV on DAZN), through photos and words the Nerazzurri midfielder tells us all in an emotionally-moving and detailed interview exclusive to Inter TV.
“Careers” will be available for free for all DAZN subscribers from today on demand. Inter fans can get involved through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and the club's YouTube channel.
Barella was Serie A's outstanding midfielder in the 2020/21 season, who culminated the campaign by lifting Inter's 19th Scudetto, helped Italy win EURO 2020, was among 30 candidates for the Ballon d'Or, and kicked off 2022 by contributing to Inter's Super Cup win. Here we take a look at his Sardinian roots and his search for lofty heights.
“I was born in Pirri and raised in Sestu where I lived with my parents. I've got strong ties to my homeland and I'm proud of my origins. The Sardinian language? I use it here in Milan when I don't want people to understand what I'm saying!"
Barella attended the Gigi Riva football school and spent time at Cagliari's youth academy. His career gained momentum thanks to his insatiable drive and an innate talent which has always won its admirers.
“Whatever a player may achieve in their career will never match what Gigi Riva achieved for Cagliari. When he told me that he knew all about me and told me how good I was it makes me proud of everything I've done"
It was near to Milan in Cuomo where the midfielder had his first taste of the game outside of Sardinia, in a period which made him grow both as a footballer and as a person.
“Destiny meant my first experience away from home was close to Milan. It was hard because we got relegated but also a positive experience as I played alongside some great lads who I'm still in touch with now. There were so many changes in that period which forced me to develop. I have a great debt of gratitude to the city of Cuomo"
There's a sense of déjà vu in what Barella has achieved. He's not the only footballer to play for Como, make history at Cagliari and win a record-breaking Scudetto for Inter: Gianfranco Matteoli came first.
“Matteoli is one of the most important people I've met so far in my career. He helped me improve in the youth ranks then took me to Como; I can't thank him enough. When I joined Inter I was both happy and excited because it was another thing our careers have in common."
Barella joined Inter in the summer of 2019, having no doubts in his mind that he was making the right choice. The midfielder was all set to play an important role in the nascent sporting project at the club. His family gave him his first taste of the Nerazzurri shirt he wears nowadays as a first team player.
“When my father went away for work he'd always bring me back a shirt of the team from the city where he'd gone to and I'd wear it when having a kickabout with my cousins. He bought me Inter shirts with Ronaldo and Alvaro Recoba on the back. I've always said that I'm a Cagliari fan but I've long since had a soft spot for Inter given all my family support the club."
Then came his Italy debut. He's gone on to be one of the first names on Roberto Mancini's team sheet, winning the European Championships against hosts England at Wembley, having found the net in the quarter-finals against Belgium. An incredible achievement which was accompanied by some footage that went viral, and Barella shared his thoughts about this in the interview...