Nicolò Barella said an emotional goodbye to hometown club Cagliari after his transfer to Inter. “I tried to honour the shirt with all my strength, and I think that I achieved that.”

The move was completed for a total of €40m plus €10m in various bonuses and add-ons, although technically it is a loan with obligation to buy, allowing them to spread the payments out.

“Dear Rossoblu fans, dear club, dear President, dear teammates,” wrote Barella in an open letter.

“I am experiencing a strange sensation. My career as a professional football player is taking me away from my land, my city, my family and my closest friends.

“It is taking me across the sea, far from home. My home: Cagliari. I could say that this club has been my home since I first started playing in the youth academy, but perhaps it has always been my home.

“I am a fortunate lad: I had the chance to defend on the pitch the colours of the club I’ve cheered on since I was a child. I made my dream come true, a dream that started when my father took me to his games and I’d sit on the touchline with a Cagliari jersey, kicking a ball that was bigger than me.

“Growing up, I was a regular in the stadium, suffering for our colours. From the stands, I admired champions like Andrea Cossu, Marco Sau and Daniele Conti. At a certain point, I found myself training with and sharing a dressing room with them: I can’t tell you the emotion I felt the first time I walked into the first team dressing room at the Asseminello ground.

“I tried to learn something from all of them, both football-related and not. They taught me well: they passed on the sense of sacrifice, the value of suffering and participation. I already had that sense of belonging and love for the jersey within me.

“I tried to work my socks off to help the team achieve their objectives. I gave everything on the pitch, every time, from the first to the last minute, in every game.

“I gave and received a fair few knocks, I discussed with referees and argued with opponents. I celebrated, shouted, cried. Playing for Cagliari is all at once a pleasure, an honour, a responsibility: something that makes victories sweeter and doubles the weight on your heart in defeat.

“Aside from the personal satisfactions, I always put the team first. It was the only thing that mattered. It is Cagliari. It is the shirt: I tried to honour it with all my strength, and I think that I achieved that.

“Now a new chapter in my career begins, I am ready to fight and give my all for these new colours and new fans. I will always keep my land and its people in my heart with great affection.”

Football Italia staff