Serie A’s most promising talents this season Nicolo Zaniolo scored twice to give Roma a 2-1 win in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday, also the youngest player since Francesco Totti to score three
Serie A goals is a product of rejections from Fiorentina who said he wasn’t tall enough and Inter who used him as a filler in a deal to sign Radja Nainggolan who they thought was a better player.
In the summer of 2017, Inter pulled out all the stops to beat off stiff competition from Juventus and AC Milan to sign
Zaniolo from Virtus Entella on the back of just seven appearances in Serie B only to sell him in the summer of 2018 for
just €4.5 million, as a complement in a deal.
19-year-old Zaniolo, as well as Coutinho, who in 2017, Inter’s chief sports officer Piero Ausilio confessed, selling him (Coutinho), was
the biggest regret in more than 20 years at Inter and other players have all gone on to achieve great things after leaving the Nerazzurri.
Though Zaniolo has not yet matched the feats of great Ex-Roma stars, as a midfielder he has been compared to Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard, by former Inter Primavera coach Stefano Vecchi in terms of quality and energy.
The talented Zaniolo has a strength of character forged by rejection. According to his father, Igor, Fiorentina released him
in 2016 because “they said he wasn’t tall enough”. Zaniolo says that he was simply told that new players were arriving before
being informed that a deal had been agreed for him to join Entella.
“Was I disappointed how it ended? Yes, because they treated me badly, given I’d been there for nine years, But it was their
choice. Let’s see if those who arrived were better than me.”
In 2018, Inter also let him go. Roma director of football Monchi said “Inter didn’t want to sell Zaniolo, However, they really wanted to sign Nainggolan so they had to adapt and concede us something. The deal, however, would have been finalized also without Zaniolo, Inter weren’t obliged to sell him to us. I am surprised, I didn’t expect him to have such a big impact so quickly”.
Zaniolo now driven by the determination, he is Roma’s first-choice playmaker, with Pastore having to make do with a seat on the bench.
The faith Roma placed in Nicolo Zaniolo raised eyebrows but he has shown potential and readiness to play at the highest level.
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