This is one of the most difficult articles that I've ever written. AC Milan are a great side who have many fine prospects and talent. Difficulty was in judging the talent and deciding on which eight to write on. I've been following Milan for years, but I admit that I don't know much about the youth system, and this info is based on what I've seen and heard from Milan and Italian football bloggers and experts.
Without further ado, here's my list of eight AC Milan youngsters who I believe will become stars in the future. Maximum age for a player to get included in this list is 20, which means that Rodney Strasser and Dominic Adiyiah miss out.
I hope it's a good read and please provide feedback at the end of this article.
This player you probably heard of and seen. Stephan El-Shaarawy, son of an Egyptian dad and Italian mother, was bought this summer from Genoa after impressing on loan at Padova. El-Shaarawy is considered one of the country's brightest talents and rising stars. He is known for his excellent ball control, pace, movement, vision and creativity.
He is a delight to watch and has already made his mark with the club, scoring an equalizer against Udinese at the San Siro. El Shaarawy is a player on the rise and is definitely to player to keep a close eye on this season.
A talented goalkeeper who was born in L'Aquila, Italy. Davide Di Fabio is not a player many people know or have heard of, except if you're a diehard Milanista. Di Fabio is considered a bright goalkeeping talent and prospect, who has good reflexes, command of his area and shot-stopping ability.
A player to look out for in the Primavera and worth watching and keeping an eye for.
A talented, young Portuguese central defender who signed from Porto this summer. Ricardo Ferreira was born in Mississauga, Canada and holds both Portuguese and Canadian nationalities.
Ferreira, from what I've seen of him, is a composed defender, who is comfortable with the ball in his feet, is a strong tackler, has decent positioning and is excellent in the air.
He definite looks like a very good defensive prospect and worth having a look at.
Simone Calvano is a talented midfielder who has already been compared to established players like Daniele De Rossi and Andrea Pirlo. He started out in Atalanta and eventually made his move to AC Milan.
He is a very good box-to-box midfielder, can play as good in the defensive midfield role as he does attack wise. He has good vision, touch, ball control, can shoot very well from distance and a very good passer.
Calvano is a player I believe has a bright future ahead of him.
Link to a goal he scored with the Primavera side.
Mattia Valoti is an attacking midfielder born in Vicenza, Italy, who arrived from Albinoleffe and is now a first team player for the Rossoneri. Valoti is a player who is technically and tactically disciplined, has very good ball control, touch and vision.
A bright prospect who we hopefully get to see in a good number of first-team matches this season.
Here's a link to a goal he scored in preseason.
Gianmario Comi is a forward who arrived this summer on a co-ownership deal from Torino, with another bright talent, Simone Verdi, going the other way.
Comi, who considers AC Milan legend Filippo Inzaghi as his idol, is a talented stiker, who's lethal in the penalty area (scored 18 goals in 21 matches with Torino's Primavera side), has good movement, very good in the air and has good balance and strength.
Comi is a player that I believe can be an excellent forward and player for the Rossoneri. If he keeps up with his performances, then he'll be in the first team sooner rather than later.
Son of former AC Milan and Inter player, Maurizio Ganz. Simone was born in Genoa and has been included in the first-team squad this season.
Ganz is a talented forward, who scored eight goals in 20 appearances with the Primavera side last season. Ganz is a player who has a good eye for goal, movement, control and also possesses a strong right foot.
A player to look out for this season.
A talented winger who arrived from Barcelona last summer. Adria Carmona is a player highly rated by many and is destined for stardom with the Rossoneri. Tall, quick, agile, excellent on one-on-one situations and has a great eye for goal. He has scored three goals in four matches in the Spanish U-17 side.
His progress has stalled somewhat at Barca, where he suffered some niggling injuries but is still a gifted player and worth looking out for in the Primavera this season.
The players listed are not the only who have huge potential for stardom, here is a list of more AC Milan youth talents:
Edmund Hottor: Born on May 6, 1993 (Age: 18)
A tough, powerful Ghanaian holding midfielder who arrived from Triestina. Talented player similar to Micheal Essien and who is regarded as a bright prospect for the Rossoneri.
Mattia De Sciglio: Born on September 6, 1993 (Age: 18)
Talented and versatile full back, who impressed with the Primavera team last season. De Sciglio is now a first-team player with the club.
Marco Fossati: Born on October 5, 1992 (Age: 18)
A gifted midfielder who was reportedly interesting Barcelona. Fossati signed from Inter and is a player that possesses wonderful technique and control, good passer and a fine striker from distance. Definitely a player to look out for.
Link to a video of Fossati's goal, which was Milan's third in that match.
Giacomo Beretta- Born on March 14, 1992 (Age: 19)
A player who is co-owned by both AC Milan and Genoa. Beretta is a striker who starred for the U-17 side, scoring 10 goals in 15 appearances and is on loan with Ascoli. He is dangerous inside the penalty area, has body strength, good control of the ball and a good finisher.
Link to a video of Giacomo Beretta in action.
Simone Verdi- Born on July 17, 1992 (Age: 19)
A player nicknamed "Verdinho", due to the similarities in his style of play with Brazilian star, Ronaldinho. A gifted player, who possesses great ball control, technique, has a good eye for goal and an excellent dribbler who has left to Torino on a co-ownership deal. He can play as a striker and a winger, and Milan fans are hoping that he makes a return to the Rossoneri.
Link to a video of Simone Verdi in action.
Nnamdi Oduamadi- Born on October 10, 1990 (Age: 20)
A talented Nigerian winger who is now on loan at Torino, with the option to make his stay permanent. Blessed with pace, the ability to skip past defenders, make strong runs, creativity and has good ball control. Has a bright future...hopefully for AC Milan.
Link to a video of Nnamdi Oduamadi in action.
Kingsley Boateng- Born on April 7, 1994 (Age: 17)
Another Ghanaian talent who is widely expected to have a bright future. Boateng is known for his winning goal in the Italy Youth Cup Final last season against Empoli. He's a gifted striker blessed with pace, ball control, excellent movement and a great eye for goal. Tipped to be a huge star for the Rossoneri and is expected to be given first team chances sooner rather than later.
Link to a video of Boateng's goal in the final.
Another player is of course Alexander Merkel (Born on February 22, 1992), who is now playing for Genoa on a co-ownership deal which was part of the El-Shaarawy deal. Merkel is a talented midfielder, who just needs some playing time and experience to fulfill his huge potential.
AC Milan have been for a while criticized for their ageing squad, but with these potential superstars, the club has a brighter future ahead of them.
What do you think? Are there anymore potential stars you can name?
Please provide feedback and your thoughts.
I would like to give special thanks to Dov Schiavone, editor of the excellent Forza Italian Football, for taking the time to help me with this article.
Also, if you want to learn about more AC Milan and other Italian prospects, please read this article.