Bryan Cristante has all the tools to be AC Milan's next superstar. He has showed this season that he's more than ready to shine when given the chance.
If there was one good thing to come from the last few months under Massimiliano Allegri, it was the former manager's inclusion of the 18-year-old starlet in the starting XI.
Cristante repaid that faith by scoring a spectacular long-distance goal and nearly netting a few more.
Here are five reasons why he's pegged to be a top-flight star.
The Italian youth international has featured eight times for various amateur setups in the national team and has gained invaluable experience with his starts for Milan this season.
At 18 years old, most players do not get the chance to shine on such a storied team.
Furthermore, most players that age show their raw inexperience when faced with some of the stiffest competition in Europe.
Cristante's first goal in Serie A came from a long-distance bullet against Atalanta, which scraped the far post and went in the back of the net.
His effort was one of a confident midfielder who knows when to take his chances in a team that carries a prestige level which could intimidate the most exuberant of youngsters.
He had other chances to score but was once denied by the post and had a near-miss from another attempt.
Bryan Cristante can play as a deep-lying playmaker or as a mezz'ala—the Italian term for a side midfielder in a 4-3-3 formation.
He doesn't neglect defensive duties and seems composed beyond his years when he has possession of the ball. As a matter of fact, his vision is the one trait which is making Milan fans salivate the most. The way he picks out passes despite being surrounded by defenders is remarkable.
Cristante has all the tools to be an effective modern-day midfielder at a big Italian club.
Last year, Milan director Adriano Galliani went on the popular RAI Italia sports show Domenica Sportiva to personally congratulate Cristante in his efforts with the youth system.
His efforts were noted, and it's the reason why the player signed a five-year contract with the Rossoneri.
Galliani shrugged off speculation that Cristante might be loaned out to a host of interested suitors, according to the club's official website (via Goal.com), and wants him to stay at Milan under the tutelage of new coach Clarence Seedorf.
Cristante hasn't seen the pitch ever since Clarence Seedorf took over for Massimiliano Allegri a month ago.
The Dutch coach changed tactical formation, switching from a 4-3-3 to a more offensive 4-2-3-1. Whether or not he thinks Cristante is ready or believes the player suits this new system is up for debate.
The good news is that Seedorf is still getting familiar with all his players, and he has been changing the lineup around on a weekly basis to find a consistent winning formula.
It's only a matter of time before we see the promising Cristante back on the pitch.