SANDRO Tonali says he left Milan for Newcastle after the Magpies "showed that they wanted him at all costs" - with the midfielder determined to win silverware on Tyneside.

In his first interview since arriving in the North East, Tonali opened up on what he described as an incredibly difficult decision to leave Milan after three memorable years at the San Siro, but says he felt the love from Newcastle chiefs during transfer negotiations.

Head coach Eddie Howe played a starring role in convincing Tonali to swap Milan for the Magpies and the midfielder is now relishing what he believes will be an "amazing" season ahead.

"I'm happy, from the moment I landed everyone welcomed me as if I have been here for many years," he told NUFC TV.

"There were a lot of steps. The most important one was when they notified me that there was interest from Newcastle.

"I took it well because I knew it was something real and concrete, therefore we thought of it differently compared to the other times. Every year there was some interest but the people showed that they really wanted me here at all costs."

On Howe specifically, Tonali said: "He was one of the people who wanted me here. I hope to meet him as soon as possible and I'm looking forward to starting this journey with him. Everyone has told me nice things about him."

Tonali has fond memories of his time at Milan, winning the Serie A title in 2022 and reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League last term.

"Leaving was one of the most difficult decisions since I became a football player. It was difficult but it had to be done," he said.

"The moment to do it had come. We decided to follow this new path. It was a really difficult decision. After overcoming this it will be a very steep learning curve because the whole journey will be difficult, but it's a great opportunity and something to take on."

Having reached the semi-finals of the Champions League last season, Tonali is looking forward to being involved in Newcastle's first taste of Europe's elite competition for 20 years. And he's also desperate to help the Magpies end their long wait for a tropy.

"When a trophy hasn't come for a long time, when it happens it's even nicer," he says.

"Waiting for it to happen will be tough and difficult, but when a trophy finally arrives you fully enjoy it. We will try our best to make supporters proud and happy in every match."

He added: "Playing in the Champions League has definitely got something special about it. Every team will do anything to give their best. We will definitely have a great season."


At Milan, Newcastle's new midfielder was often compared with the Italian club legends Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso.

He says: "It has been a long time since the comparisons, but I have managed to avoid thinking about it.

"At the beginning of your journey the comparisons can hurt you. It's been many years since I managed to separate things and leave them on the pitch, but if I had to choose a person in terms of similarity that would be Gattuso."

After being involved in the European Championships with Italy's Under-21s, Tonali is now expected to be granted a short break before linking up with his new Newcastle teammates in pre-season.

He says: "The ambition of every player is to come to a team and win. I believe the first thing you should do is never stop and aim to win. This is everyone's goal.

"I hope to come here and start as soon as possible. I will have to make progress with the language. It won't be easy but is part of the path I have to take."