Capello: Nicolo Zaniolo is the Italian version of Paul Pogba

VERONA, ITALY - FEBRUARY 08: Nicolò Zaniolo of AS Roma looks on during the Serie A match between Chievo Verona and AS Roma at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on February 8, 2019 in Verona, Italy. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

Former Italian coach Fabio Capello believes AS Roma’s newest breakout star Nicolo Zaniolo shares many similarities with none other than Paul Pogba.

The 19-year-old midfielder became the youngest Italian player to score a double in a Champions League match on Tuesday night to help Roma claim a 2-1 first leg win over FC Porto in their last-16 Champions League clash.

Zaniolo arrived at Roma last summer as part of an exchange deal with Inter Milan for Radja Nainggolan and made his European debut against Real Madrid in September as well getting called up to the Italy squad a month later.

In total, Zaniolo has managed five goals and two assists in 22 appearances across all competitions for Roma and received a standing ovation from the club’s fans in the final few minutes of the game on Tuesday.

Now Capello, who coached Roma between 1999 to 2004 and led them to a Serie A title, believes Zaniolo is Italy’s answer for Pogba.

“Both Pogba and Zaniolo always look to play the ball,” Capello told Sky Sport Italia.

“They never go for the safe option. They look for more and go towards their opponents’ goal.

“it’s a sign of confidence, desire to take risks and character. That’s very important. He always keeps the ball, looks to get past his opponent and aim for goal.

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“It’s the same thing that Pogba does. They both look for assists and shoot well from distance. He has character, strength and quality.

Roma will now turn their attention back to the Serie A on Monday night, where they will host Bologna at the Stadio Olimpico for their next league game.

Eusebio Di Francesco’s side are currently sixth in the standings and a point off fourth-placed side AC Milan after 23 matches and will be eyeing up a victory in order to maintain their Champions League qualification hopes.


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