Romagnoli: I wanted to be like Zidane!

The 20-year-old has revealed that the Frenchman was his hero before he moved from midfield to defence and started idolising Alessandro Nesta instead
AC Milan centre-back Alessio Romagnoli has revealed he wanted to be like Zinedine Zidane when he was younger, but settled on idolising Rossoneri legend Alessandro Nesta.

The 20-year-old signed left Roma for Milan for a reported €25 million following an excellent breakthrough season on loan at Sampdoria.

Romagnoli explained his selection of the No.13 shirt is because of his affection for Nesta, who wore that jersey during his time at San Siro, though he claims his original idol was former Juventus star Zidane.

"I was asked once who my idol was, and it's Nesta," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "As a child I wanted to play in midfield, I loved Zidane and the way he played with the ball at his feet.

"Then [former Roma youth coach] Sandro Tovalieri changed my position and my love of Nesta started."

Romagnoli worked under new Milan head coach Sinisa Mihajlovic at Sampdoria last season, when they teamed up to finished seventh in Serie A, and he claims that the Serbian has advanced in the couple of months they had spent apart.

"I've found that Mihajlovic has improved," the Italy Under-21 defender added. "In human terms, he's basically the same – very direct and serious – but he has grown up a lot in training methods."

Romagnoli, who came through Roma's youth system, signed a five-year deal with Milan earlier this month.