After playing a big part in Italy’s Euro 2020 success, can Nicolò Barella repeat the trick and help the Azzurri retain their crown at Euro 2024? We take a look at some of the midfielder’s best numbers.

Since the 2019-20 season, Inter have won Serie A twice, the Coppa Italia twice, the Supercoppa Italiana three times, and reached the UEFA Champions League final.

One constant in those achievements has been Nicolò Barella, and the club will be keen to keep it that way. One of the priorities for Inter this summer will be the renewal of Barella’s contract, with his current deal only having two more years to run.

The 27-year-old is essential for the Nerazzurri; Barella is the Inter player to have started the most games (156) and played the most minutes (13,325) in Serie A since his first season with the club (2019-20).

Most mins for Inter since 19-20

In fact in the whole of Serie A since he arrived from Cagliari on an initial loan in 2019, the only midfielder to have started more games is Hakan Çalhanoglu (157), now Barella’s Inter teammate.

He can be a goal threat, twice recording six goals in a single season in his career (2017-18 and 2022-23), but Barella is more of a creator, recording 32 assists in Serie A since the start of 2019-20. Only Luis Alberto (41), Çalhanoglu (39) and Antonio Candreva (35) have registered more in the competition in that time.

Indeed, Barella has created 228 chances from open play in an Inter shirt in Serie A, with only Lazio’s Luis Alberto (256) creating more among midfielders.

Chances created open play Serie A since 2019-20

Barella enjoys having the ball at his feet – which is rather useful for a footballer – and has been effective in moving Inter up the pitch in recent years, with again only Luis Alberto (2,488) tallying more carries since 2019-20 than him (2,275) among Serie A midfielders.

As you can see from his touch map below, Barella gets around. Despite only scoring twice and delivering three assists in Serie A this season, his contribution to Inter’s Scudetto success was unquestioned. Barella had 2,511 touches in Serie A in 2023-24, only fewer than Çalhanoglu (2,648), Stanislav Lobotka (2,595), Bryan Cristante (2,568) and Matteo Pessina (2,546) among midfielders in the competition.

Nicolo Barella touch map 23-24 Serie A

It wasn’t just quantity, though. Looking at the quality of Barella’s touches, we can see how useful they can be. Indeed, no midfielder completed more passes than Barella in the opposition’s half in Serie A this season, his 1,072 a joint-high alongside Napoli’s Lobotka.

Spalletti recently said: “Nicolò Barella could wear the number 10 shirt of the Italian team at Euro 2024.” As it turned out, Barella stuck with his usual number 18, with Lorenzo Pellegrini set to don the 10 shirt, but less literally, Spalletti has a point about how appropriate the number would be. He was the midfielder involved in the most attacking sequence involvements (open-play sequences ending with a shot) in Serie A in 2023-24 (199). Only Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (230) and Matías Soulé (201) were involved in more.

Serie A attacking sequence involvement 23-24

You might be wondering if Barella is as involved off the ball; well, yes, he is. He made 167 recoveries in the league this season, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan (182) the only Inter player with more. He also won possession in the final third of the pitch on 19 occasions, with just five Serie A midfielders doing so more often; Nikola Vlasic (26), Charles De Ketelaere (24), Teun Koopmeiners (23), Giacomo Bonaventura (21) and Felipe Anderson (20).

There is little question that Barella is a vital cog for Inter, but can he be the same for Italy at Euro 2024 this summer?

Barella comes into the tournament in Germany as one of the senior figures of Luciano Spalletti’s side. He actually has the most international goals (9) of anyone in Italy’s 26-man squad, ahead of Federico Chiesa and Stephan El Shaarawy (both 7).

Italy goals of Euro 2024 squad

Almost all of those goals (8 of 9) came under the management of Roberto Mancini. Barella’s only goal since Spalletti took charge of the Azzurri last year came in March’s 2-0 friendly win over Ecuador, a lovely dinked finish after running on to Riccardo Orsolini’s reverse pass.

He played in six of Italy’s seven games at Euro 2020 on their way to lifting the trophy, with three goal involvements (1 goal, 2 assists). Only five players created more than his nine chances from open play, too.

Barella also featured seven times in qualifying for Euro 2024, with no Italy player recording as many as his three assists, while he created twice as many chances from open play as any of his teammates (14, ahead of Davide Frattesi and Domenico Berardi – 7).

In addition to being the highest-scoring international player of the current Italy squad, until Sunday’s 1-0 friendly win over Bosnia and Herzegovina, Barella (53) was level with Jorginho as the outfield player in the squad with the joint-most caps, but the Arsenal midfielder’s appearance in that game coupled with Barella missing out with a slight injury concern meant the former edged ahead by one (54).

That is the one concern for Barella and Italy ahead of the start of Euro 2024, how fit he will be. He ended the Serie A campaign with a muscle issue, and hasn’t yet played a part in tournament preparations.

A statement from the FIGC on Saturday read: “The footballer Nicolò Barella carried out diagnostic tests this morning that showed the expected progress in recovery from muscle fatigue suffered in recent days.

“Therefore, the player will continue the work program, in view of being reintegrated into the group in the coming days.”

It is not yet confirmed if Barella will be fit to start Italy’s Group B opener against Albania on 15 June, but the Azzurri will be confident of it being a long tournament for them. As long as they have their key midfielder back soon, they can still be considered a force to be reckoned with.

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