Before you spit out your coffee in sheer bewilderment, take time to hear me out on this one. Yes, you could make the case for Andrea Barzagli right now as the finest center back Italy have at their disposal. However, I'm going with pure, unbridled potential!
In these two decades, rarely have I seen a player with the poise that young Milan right back Mattia De Sciglio has at such an early stage of his career. The recently-turned 20-year-old carved himself a spot in the rossoneri starting eleven, playing so well that the team has deemed incumbent Ignazio Abate dispensable and nearly sold him to Zenit St. Petersburg during the January transfer window.
De Sciglio was born and bred in Lombardy, growing up in the youth ranks of a team that was famous for molding some of the finest defensive footballers the world of soccer has ever seen.
Recent times haven't been so kind to Milan, as the youth sector in the 2000s paled in comparison to the legendary one of the 1980s which produced the core of players that went on to win three Champions League trophies during a five year spell.
Comfortable in both attack and defense, De Sciglio has shown his incredible tactical awareness and versatility, as Allegri has played him on both flanks, in the middle of defense, and as an offensive wing-back in his brief experiment with a 3-5-2 formation. Are you starting to see why I've dedicated such an honorable title to the young man? A 20-year-old who shines brightest against top class opposition and has had a taste of Europe already in the Champions League.
Mattia's on the ball stand tackle is only eclipsed by his guile going forward, as he breezes past the opposition and puts in a pinpoint cross. There was no better example of this than Milan's first encounter with Juventus last year, as De Sciglio looked perfectly in his element and shut down Kwadwo Asamoah.
The young defender has already caught the eye of Cesare Prandelli, coach of the Italian national team, where he'll look to feature regularly in the future. Having already beat out Abate for the spot at Milan, it's only a matter of time before Mattia De Sciglio cements his place with the Azzurri.
So here's an ode to the future of Milan and the Italian national team, a player who can already be seen as the successor to the famous No. 3 at Milan, Paolo Maldini.