Fri 20 Oct 2023, 14:59 · Ash Harrison

‘Even better’: Therapist expects Sandro Tonali to become a better player after treatment

‘Even better’: Therapist expects Sandro Tonali to become a better player after treatment
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The latest voice added to the chorus surrounding Sandro Tonali is his psychiatrist who has now shared more information on Tonali's addiction.

Speaking to Sky Sports Italy (via Get Football News Italy), Gabriele Sani has explained in more detail how Sandro Tonali has been affected by gambling addiction.

Following being questioned by authorities in Italy, it was quickly made public that Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali had been suffering with a gambling addiction and had even been placing bets on AC Milan to win while he was a player there.

Tonali is facing a ban of between one and three years

It's believed that these admissions will land the 23-year-old with a ban from football for anywhere between one and three years.

Sani has explained that a large part of Tonali's gambling was down to superstition and that he was unlikely to get any real enjoyment from the activity, it was just a compulsion.

The good news is, Sani believes that when Tonali returns from his ban he will become an even better player as he won't have these intrusive thoughts to contend with.

What Gabriele Sani had to say on Tonali's addiction

“When he was at the height of his pathological behavior, Sandro bet on everything he could bet, and this is part of those compulsive constraints we talked about. Betting on Milan always winning makes us understand the superstitious nature, that magical thinking, which often accompanies those who suffer from this addiction, of which we also have examples in literature and cinema.

“He bet on Milan winning as if it were a superstitious element from which one could not free oneself. When a person is affected by this disorder the element no longer exists of pleasure, winning or wealth. Just as a person suffering from substance addiction does not drink or smoke for the pleasure of doing so, but does so because he cannot help but do so. Tonali also said that, in the rare cases in which a win arrived, he couldn’t let go until he used up the money from that win. But that’s not the point. The point was to seek therapy for his anguish, in a pathological way.”

“In recent years Tonali has reached very important levels in football, despite the burden of tensions and anxieties that he bore in silence and alone. It is easy to foresee that, once all this emotional tension has been resolved through therapy, not only will he be able to go back to playing as always, but even better. Because he will be freer. He won’t have those disturbing elements with respect to the realization of his profession.”

“With him we reconstructed how the first signs of this compulsion to play, that is, the impossibility of choosing not to do a certain thing, dates back to late adolescence. And over the years it has become structured.”

It does sound like Tonali has legitimately been struggling for a while. We know Sandro will get all the help and support he needs with Eddie Howe making that abundantly clear in this morning's press conference.