‘We are not friends’ – Tomori sends message to Newcastle star ahead of Champions League reunion

Jason Soutar
Fikayo Tomori with his AC Milan teammates before a Champions League match.
Fikayo Tomori with his AC Milan teammates before a Champions League match.

Fikayo Tomori has told Sandro Tonali their friendship will be put to one side during AC Milan’s Champions League clash against Newcastle United.

Tonali left the Rossoneri to join Premier League side Newcastle for around £60million in the summer transfer window.

He enjoyed three great years in Milan, helping the Italian giants win Serie A in 2021/22.

The Magpies finished fourth in the English top flight last term, meaning Champions League football will return to St James’ Park after a 20-year hiatus.

This would have been a huge factor in Tonali’s decision to swap Milan for the north east and fittingly, his new side were drawn against his old one in the Champions League group of death.

Drawn alongside Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain in Group F, it is impossible to call who will make it out and qualify for the last 16 of the competition.

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Newcastle face Milan at San Siro in their opening fixture on Tuesday night in what will be a very exciting evening for everyone involved, no more than Tonali.

Speaking during his side’s pre-match press conference, Rossoneri centre-back Tomori admitted he is looking forward to seeing his former teammates but has issued a warning to the Italian midfielder.

“Obviously it will be nice to see him again. We played a lot of games together,” Tomori said on Monday. “However, there will be no pleasantries once the teams step out on to the pitch.

“It will be nice to see him again so soon after he left, but we are professionals. When the game starts, friendships go out of the window. We want to win. After the game we can start being friends again. During the game, though, we are not friends.”

On Newcastle, Tomori added: “They [Newcastle] are a very strong team, with legs up front and physicality at the back. They like to play it deep.

“We know what we’re expecting from them and then we have to demonstrate our quality with and without the ball.”

Meanwhile, Milan manager Stefano Pioli says he is looking forward to seeing Tonali again.

“I will hug him both before and after the game,” he said. “We have grown and experienced a lot together and I wish him all the best in the following match.”

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