Gnonto, the top of the class: the idol is Messi, the example is Ronaldo

Brain on the run

There family Gnonto to Baveno she is still … at home despite leaving in June 2020 to follow her son who accepted the court of Zurich. In this town of 5,000 souls on Lake Maggiore everyone knows them because Chantal worked for 21 years as a waitress at the Grand Hotel Dino, while her father changed several uses in neighboring countries. It was he, in 1993, who was the first to arrive from the Ivory Coast. He didn’t have the permit so he lived with his brother Jermain and, taking three trains every morning (“Plus 10 kilometers on foot”), he went to work in a tap company in San Maurizio d’Opaglio (“The salary? 5,000 lire per Now”). Four years and a thousand sacrifices later, he returned to Abidjan, married his Chantal (“Having me always around changed his life,” she joked, who has loved him since she was a child), and took her with him to Baveno. There the encore wedding took place, this time in church. Why the family Gnonto is a lot believer and Wilfried, who also served as an altar boy during Don Alfredo’s masses, is still going to church now. For two years they have been living in an apartment not far from the airport of the capital of “Kanton Zürich” as you said yesterday smiling mother Chantal. “Willy and I know the German – she pointed out to make fun of her husband – he doesn’t. My son has a talent for languages ​​since he speaks four of them (Italian, English, German and French, ed) and at school he was also very good in Latin ».

Books in Coverciano

Hence the nickname “Latin player of the goal” revealed during the interview with Rai. He learned it at the “Cavalieri” high school in Verbania, but when he moved to the boarding school ofInter he changed schools and enrolled in high school scientific sportsman from Busto Arsizio that he still attends online. “He likes studying and last night (Friday, ed) in Bologna he had the books of mathematics and law brought to prepare for the high school diploma” confided his father proudly. A “detail” that testifies to how much this boy used to having excellent grades at school has his head on his shoulders. “He was the top of the class in both elementary and middle school. Now he is also attending the Swiss school which will allow him to have a diploma to carry out any type of job ».
Of doubts on the profession that he will practice, however, there were few when he was a child and there are even fewer now, after the night of the Dall’Ara in which his parents cried with joy, sitting in the stands. «I had the hope that he would enter one of the three Nations League matches – dad Noël went on – but I didn’t expect him to already have a chance against Germany. When he gave Pellegrini a 1-0 assist, we both jumped to our feet. Okay, in the stands you have to be composed, but we couldn’t hold back ». After the game they hugged him with affection and their eyes still bright. The debut in blue was like closing a circle.

Messi and smiles

Calculate how many kilometers Willy has traveled in his life to go to train is impossible. Everything was simple up to the age of 8 because at the age of 4-5 he was the champion of the games that were played with older kids on the pitch below the house, while at 6 he gave a show in the Baveno Soccer School, where he was coached by Rino Molle. . Maximum Zacchera, one of the founders of the club (now affiliated with Juventus), as well as director of the Grand Hotel Dino, saw him grow: «His strength was and is to always enter and leave the pitch with a smile. Since baby, with the ball at his feet, he was never excited or afraid to challenge those who were 2-3 years older than him. In the national team in Bologna he played as in the Piccoli Amici category: he slipped everything on him and thought only of demonstrating his qualities ». His footballing DNA was passed on to him by his father Noël, who is so called because he was born on Christmas day 1969 (“But they registered me three days later and therefore my birthday is … December 28”): he was L’striker at an amateur level and even now he gives some advice willingly. «Not from a technical-tactical point of view, but from a behavioral point of view. His idol is Messi whose biography he has read and studies all the movements on the Internet; However, I repeat that he must learn the culture of work from Cristiano Ronaldo, who does not have the immense talent of the Argentine, but has become a phenomenon always giving his best during the week ». The “sporting geniuses”, however, also come from his mother: “I was doing athletics, the 100 meters, and I trained a lot” Chantal recalled, with a well-groomed look and shining eyes even yesterday at the mere thought of how much her child has grown, “already unstoppable when at the age of 2-3 he used his living room as a football field. This is why my husband took him to the oratory: he wanted to tire him out and protect the TV and furniture ». Good choice. Mancini also thanks.

How many trips

At the age of 8, the “Tour” to go to train far from Baveno: many kilometers “ground” in the car by his father, who worked first in a curtain firm in Borgomanero then in a tubing company in Piedimulera, his mother or a trusted person who paid 30 euro per day. First stop the Suno, club of the Inter galaxy. Then, since that little boy (who became Italian in all respects in 2009 thanks to the citizenship he took from his father) was too good to stay in the province, at 9 he moved directly to Milan, to the Nerazzurri parent company. The kilometers to be covered each day became one hundred on the way out and the same number on the way back. With consequent sacrifices for Willy, who ate a sandwich made by his mother in the morning during the trip, and for the family. «Five days a week back and forth from Milan was a great stress – Noël confessed – and we couldn’t take it anymore. Fortunately, after a few years Inter helped us by sending a minibus to Meina, about twenty kilometers from our home, to accompany him to the training ground and bring him back there ».
Many goals, many victories and many personal awards have arrived in the Nerazzurri. “When we moved, I don’t know how many trophies ended up in the cellar. But my wife wanted a showcase to keep some of them ». Among these the medal for the victory of the last Swiss championship with Dzemaili’s Zurich, the former midfielder of Turin, Parma, Naples, Genoa and Bologna who is his godfather.

Goodbye Inter

There turning point of the career after lockdown, with the signing for Zurich, a decision taken by the family after many discussions with the agent Claudio Vigorelli and his collaborator Luca Ronchi. «He had won the Under 15 championship by scoring in the final against Juventus (5-0 on 14 June 2018, ed) and, despite being the smallest of all, he scored several goals. In the national team, however, they did not call him and this left me perplexed. The first time the coach Nunziata called him, then in October 2019 he went to the Under 17 World Cup in place of his teammate Esposito, who was not freed by Conte: there, against older boys, he scored 3 goals and had considerable visibility. On his return, negotiations began for the signing of his first professional contract with Inter: the meetings were positive and Willy moved to live in the boarding school in Milan, but the path outlined did not fully convince us because he would have played for the Primavera. The outbreak of the Coronavirus has complicated everything. After the lockdown, Zurich promised us that they would put him in the first team and at that point the choice was … obligatory ».
There family he thus abandoned Baveno: mother Chantal now works in a laundry, father Noël is a full-time driver for his son. «At least once a month, however, we come back here because we have many friends and there is also the tomb of Don Alfredo, who died in 2017. He would have been delighted to see his Willy in blue». And even the new star of Italy is often seen in these parts where he plans to buy a house. Three and a half hours of travel from Zurich are not short, but here he has many boys with whom he grew up and in 2020-21 the nostalgia was a lot. Last summer, before the start of training, he returned to training in the Baveno stadium and on the church pitch. From there began the tale of Gnonto. The ending is still to be written.

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