Nicolò Zaniolo’s mother Francesca Costa confirms Roma wanted to sell the Italy international a year ago ‘for €50m or €60m’ and admits Milan and Tottenham made offers in January.

Zaniolo joined Galatasaray from Roma for €29.5m, including add-ons in February. He had asked to leave the club in the January transfer window, rejecting an offer from Bournemouth.

In an interview with Il Corriere dello Sport, his mother Francesca Costa explained what’s behind Zaniolo’s Roma exit, revealing that it all started a year ago.

Zaniolo scored the winner in the Conference League Final in 2021-22. “An incredible joy, it makes me cry when I talk about it,” said his mother. “We were so happy. A dream that made up for many disappointments.

“Then, we had the chance to change [in the summer]. We spoke to the club who said he could leave for €50m or €60m,” she continued.

“He didn’t receive similar offers, so he remained at the club and he was happy about it. However, he expected a contract extension in line with the evaluation.”

Roma never offered him a contract extension “contrary to other teammates,” noted Costa. “But it wasn’t about the money. Nicolò realised he was no longer part of the project, Roma told him they wanted to sell in June, so he felt he had been pushed aside and the light turned down.

“It was said that he refused to play for Roma, that he is a traitor. People don’t know he played with injections because of a shoulder injury.

“The club were not correct, but he really felt bad. When he wasn’t called up against Fiorentina, he was shaking. Doctors proved it. I don’t know if it was flu or stress, but he wasn’t ok.”

Zaniolo didn’t train with the team in the final days of the January window, providing a medical certificate. He was not called up for games against Spezia and Napoli in Serie A.

“It’s a decision he made along with the coach. Nicolò wasn’t ok, the light was turned off and it makes the difference for a footballer,” said his mother, who has no hard feelings towards Roma supporters.

“Nobody is angry with the fans. We will forever be grateful to them. They’ve been respectful, they only believed what they were told.”

Zaniolo and his family even returned to La Spezia in the final days of January after being threatened by Roma ultras in the capital: “We got anxious because, during the previous days, they had written us anything, insults, threats. We were frightened, it was an unbearable situation.”

Milan and Roma were in talks with Roma in January, as confirmed by Zaniolo’s mother, but didn’t reach an agreement with the Giallorossi while the striker rejected Bournemouth.

“Nicolò would have lowered his wages or asked for the same money he earned at Roma to Milan or Tottenham. However, these clubs didn’t reach an agreement with the club. Then there was Bournemouth, who didn’t offer €5m per season. That is not true.”

Costa confirms Zaniolo’s agents sat down with Bournemouth directors insisting that it’s not true her son didn’t even listen to their offer.

Then Galatasaray’s offer arrived. “It was almost an immediate choice because they made us feel the trust. They wanted Nicolò and it wasn’t difficult to find an agreement,” she said.

Last but not least, Zaniolo’s mother confirms only three Roma players messaged her son when he went to Turkey last week.

“It was just three of them. He’s always had a good rapport in the dressing room and it’s a shame,” she concluded.

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