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Juventus, Inter and Roma have all made efforts to land Domenico Berardi in recent transfer windows, says Sassuolo director Giovanni Carnevali.
The 26-year-old forward briefly spent time in Turin as a youngster, but has shunned that spotlight as a senior star.
He is now an established Serie A performer and Italy international, with admiring glances from afar continuing to be ignored as he remains fiercely loyal to his current employers.
Carnevali told Corriere dello Sport: “Many had doubts over Berardi in the past, while we always had blind faith in him.
“He’s an exceptional lad and the words of the patron Giorgio Squinzi, who wanted to make him a symbol of Sassuolo, are coming true.
“Domenico had already done well on international duty and is now confirming the progress he’s made this season at Sassuolo. He’s a champion and now everyone realises it.”
Sassuolo’s CEO added: “Juventus, Inter and Roma asked after Berardi in the last few transfer sessions.
“We have a special rapport with him, and although it’s true there were some offers, we always agreed the best thing was to keep going together.
“In a football world where there are no more icons, we are proud that he has become our symbol.
“Our plans are to continue this journey together and I don’t think things will change over the next three months.”
Consistently high standards have been maintained by Berardi throughout his time with Sassuolo, with promotion to Serie A secured in his debut campaign.
He has also posed a regular threat in front of goal, breaking double figures for the third consecutive season in 2020-21 with 11 strikes in just 22 games.
The talented winger is also up to 10 caps for his country, with a memorable strike recorded in his most recent appearance as the Azzurri secured a 2022 World Cup qualifying win over Northern Ireland.