Thursday July 24 2014
Mastour of Milan’s destiny

Whilst still very raw, Hachim Mastour’s magic against Monza has Sam Lewis optimistic about Milan’s future.

Typically, there is very little of note to take from pre-season friendlies. Squads are still in the process of being put together, players are slowly getting back to something resembling match fitness and new Coaches are trying out strategies and formations with what usually is a combination of anonymous players and academy prospects. The games are often redundant as spectacles, offering but a fraction of the pace and intensity of a competitive fixture.

The game between Milan and Monza, even with new Coach Pippo Inzaghi parading the touchline, was no different. That is, apart from one moment.

With 15 minutes remaining, 16-year-old Hachim Mastour picked up the ball near the touchline, around 35 yards out. The young Moroccan swiftly turned and dribbled with ease past several Monza defenders, who seemed to collapse like skittles hit by a bowling ball. As the starlet made his way into the box he laid the ball off to a colleague, fellow youth product Alessandro Mastalli. The striker finished neatly but Mastour was the star of the move – one immediately immortalised as the clip went viral around social media.

It’s not the first time Mastour has been the internet flavour of the month – leaked training videos showing the then 15-year-old embarrassing fellow Milan primavera players did the rounds as well as a clip of the winger juggling an orange.

The videos seem to add to the mystery of the youngster, a player whose talent seems to have matured much quicker than he has. In the final game of Milan’s season Mastour was a substitute alongside veteran players, some of whom were twice his age – and then some.

The face of the ‘class of 1998’, a group of Diavolo players including both Mastour and the aforementioned Mastalli, has many around the club excited for the future. No longer able to blow clubs away with lucrative offers as in years gone by, the focus of the Rossoneri is to build from within. In Mastour, they could have their foundation.

Alongside the youngster, Milan’s line-up against Monza featured central midfielder Bryan Cristante in front of the defence as well as the returning Stephan El Shaarawy in attack. Combined with Mattia De Sciglio and Mario Balotelli, Milan have a core of young players with which to build for the future that they – rather crucially – didn’t have to overspend to bring in. It is a mentality shared around the club, including their new Coach.

“Inzaghi, having trained the primavera, takes young players into account,” Cristante told media following the game against Monza.

Given the former striker’s primavera background at Milan it is no surprise that young players will be valued, an area of Inzaghi’s resume that could perhaps make Inzaghi-Milan a better fit than Seedorf-Milan. Whilst with players like Mastour, El Shaarawy and De Sciglio improving all the time, it could be argued it’d be difficult to ignore them.

Mastour’s magic may not reappear in a Milan shirt for some time and given the age of the player combined with the difficulty of the opposition, it may be a while before we see the youngster perform like that in Serie A.

However, the forward has already given fans reason to believe that if the present doesn’t look as promising as hoped, the future may yet be bright.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
we then find ourselves unable to sell them even at a loss. Surely someone somewhere would be willing to pay 8/9m for Matri even if we sold him abroad. We should've been able to make some money on Robinho and there is no reason to loan and give away players like Brsa and Nocerino. Galliani has failed in just about every aspect of the transfer market and must go.
on the 31st July, 2014 at 10:23am
So Milan have no money, we cannot seem to sell any of the existing players we have in our bloated squad and the little money we have we spend on the wrong players. We've loaned instead of sold Nocerino, Brsa and Matri (the last of whom we paid 11m for just 12 months). We still haven't sold Robinho and I doubt we'll get a decent price. And we're still stuck with Essien. Ideally we wouldn't have wasted money on some of these players to begin with but having wasted money on them
on the 31st July, 2014 at 10:01am
@ Francesco Completely agree. What precisely is the difference between a player like Ben Arfa and Brsa? We already had a left footed wide player who did a reasonable job last season. We've loaned him for free to Chievo and now we're presumably going to spend money on a player whose not really any better. So this little merry go round has just ended up costing us even more money when we already have very little. This has been a feature of our transfer campaigns for the past few seasons.
on the 31st July, 2014 at 9:36am
Now Gallani is after Ben Arfa. Can Milan buy some talent anytime soon, or is their plan to get to the champions league with washed up players on dirt cheap transfers. Look at Roma and Napoli they have been making all the right moves lately.

If Isco is for sale buy him, he is a great talent and his resale value won't drop for years to come. Isco, El shaarawy, Mastour, Niang, Ballotelli that makes a potent young attack for Milan for years to come. And for gods sake buy some defenders.
on the 30th July, 2014 at 7:35pm
You guys don't know what time it is man! Galliani is a shrewd operator. Great observation Sanrella; last time I checked, he was Italian.
on the 30th July, 2014 at 6:37pm
Can we factor in a disciplinary condition into Bonera and Mexes' contracts? We'd save a fortune!
on the 30th July, 2014 at 4:59pm
Since we are running out of options and time I would like to see Milan do the following: we must now sell Bonera and Mexes and replace them with Vermaelen and Paletta. Zapata is probably the best CB we currently have and could compete with these two. Alex and Rami can hopefully remain out of harms way as cover. This would be a start. I'm very concerned by the GK but if Abbiati has one more season in him fine. I've not been impressed by Gabriel and Agazzi was awful the other night.
on the 29th July, 2014 at 4:51pm
I really don't think it's too much of an exaggeration to suggest that Mexes and Bonera are the two players who are primarily responsible for Milan's problems on the pitch in the last few seasons. Mexes has been a problem from day one. Bonera has regressed as a defender. Rami is hardly the model professional having been effectively fired by Valencia. Alex has never been considered an international quality defender even coming from a country which such few defenders.
on the 29th July, 2014 at 4:47pm
Mexes has been booked 122 times in 493 professional games. He's been sent off 15 times. Bonera's been booked 92 times in 380 matches. By contrast Maldini was booked just 74 times in 847 matches and Thiago Silva just 24 times in 257 matches. Why do they booked so much? Because they're constantly caught out of position. And none of them are even out and out defenders. Its one thing if we had defenders who were prepared to throw themselves in front of the ball. That's what I like about Paletta.
on the 29th July, 2014 at 4:45pm
@ IL CAPITANO I don't think throwing money at our defence will necessarily solve our problems in the same way that throwing money at our attack is also probably not going to generate a huge amount of goals. There are only very few unique players out there who can make a change. Players like Suarez in attack and Thiago Silva in defence. The issue with the defenders we've got is they appear to be beyond help. Look at the stats. In the last 3 seasons we've conceded 33, 39 and 49 goals respectively.
on the 29th July, 2014 at 4:38pm
Why are we monitoring campbell??
on the 29th July, 2014 at 10:51am
its not like you can just go out and buy and fix the problem. people always forget about defence,there are no star defenders out there. david luiz n thiago silva arent that amazing like the old greats. nesta made silva look better than he is. My opionion some defenders have to step up and make a name this year. the only center defender I like in Italy thats a sick prospect is Rannochia. so I hope rami and alex have a good chem and abate n de scigilio help out. forza Milan!
on the 29th July, 2014 at 1:09am
Galliani "Alex and Rami are a great pair, as are Bonera and Mexes." Enough said. He needs to go.
on the 28th July, 2014 at 6:45pm
@maldini heir
100% agree. Could you imagine our defence now had we gone for ogbonna and astori- we would be well covered. Instead we are stuck rami who I have never rated, mexes who is terrible and bonera who is actually the worst defender to ever step foot on a pitch. Every single goal we concede is by simple mistakes for this shambolic defence! Our defensive midfielders are terrible too. Its just disgraceful how bad we are and how no 1 seems to see it!
on the 28th July, 2014 at 6:06pm
If it's not bad enough Galliani is incompetent/delusional he has also just backed Carlo Tavecchio. Galliani please go.
on the 28th July, 2014 at 5:55pm
Vermaelen? Agger? Paletta? It's not like there aren't options. But we're not even looking. We think we have the defence covered. The word delusional springs to mind.
on the 28th July, 2014 at 12:18pm
@ mm Rami cost us more than Astori cost Roma! Roma paid 2m now with an option to buy him for 5m next season. This is the second summer in a row we've lost out on a potential future Italy centre back because we weren't even looking. Last summer we could've signed Ogbonna for 13m instead of spending 11m on Matri. Benatia signed for Roma for 13.5m. We could've got Vidic for free but he's gone to Inter. We could've got Ashley Cole for free but he's gone to Roma. Are we going to bid for de Vrij?
on the 28th July, 2014 at 12:14pm
Berlusconi built Milan and has now destroyed them.

What a shambles.
on the 28th July, 2014 at 11:02am
Disturbing how bad we are. Pre-season is no excuse, 1 week 2 week 3 weeks behind is no excuse. This is an horrendous set up, 8 goals in 2 games is disturbing, we made such a big deal in trying to sign rami that we look even more ridiculous, alex is terrible, bonera is the 'leader' of that defence?? It is shocking, the state of milan is shameful, the fact that no one seems to speak out is even worse. By xmas inzaghi will be sacked to make way for another puppet! No stability we need change
on the 28th July, 2014 at 9:17am
Second half: Bonera misses a simple header and gives thrown in away. Fifth goal: Rami misses a tackle and lets another player into the 6 yard box for an easy finish. Bonera fails to stop across. Scratch that. Bonera fails to do anything. Mexes gets booked for an absoutely reckless tackle in a FRIENDLY. Mexes should've been sent off for a second reckless tackle in a FRIENDLY. 5:1. I don't care if its a friendly. What an absolute disgrace.
on the 27th July, 2014 at 11:21pm
Galliani must leave. Berlusconi must sell. And inzaghi should have stayed with the youth team!
on the 27th July, 2014 at 10:12pm
the CBs are the basis for building any team and our CBs are not good enough by any stretch. And the worst thing about them is they think they're good. They act big. Bonera acts lik the leader, Rami says he's a gladiator (with weird eyebrows), Alex wants Thiago Silva's shirt number and Mexes acts like the tough guy but it just covers up how utterly incompetent they are. I don't want to hear abou another attacker until this is sorted out fast.
on the 27th July, 2014 at 10:10pm
Lets analyse the performances of our freebie Alex and Rami who we've wasted over £3m on. First few minutes Rami misplace a simple header. First goal: Alex lets a player run behind him and Rami fails to cover behind. Second goal: Rami lets his marker get in front and take it down in the 6 yard box. Third goal: Alex does nothing whatsoever to stop a cross. Fourth goal: Rami fails to intercept and Alex fails to close. Constant and another freebie Agazzi have obviously both been awful but...
on the 27th July, 2014 at 10:00pm
What milan need is more strikers! Thats the mentality of galliani and the new puppet/manager! 7 goals I 1 and half games!
on the 27th July, 2014 at 10:00pm
MESSAGE FOR GALLIANI/INZAGHI: What more evidence do you need? 7 (seven) goals conceded in just 1.5 games. Do you not see it? Are you blind? Are you stupid? Are you blind and stupid? Is this a side ready to introduce Mastour? Is this is a side ready to play in Serie A? If you do not immediatly start looking to sign a CB you both need to resign. No more excuses. I'm absoutely sick of this farce.
on the 27th July, 2014 at 9:49pm
"Rocco M" you are spot on. Why people have an issue here is beyond me. If you look at Jorginho he has lived in Italy since the age of 15, so he should have the right to play for Italy in my view. We need to kick out the racists, there is no place for these people in society. I am for Albertini as FIGC but I liked the comment Tavecchio made, "if players don't feel a shiver down their spine when national anthem plays they shouldn't be playing". Everytime Fratelli d italia plays I get goosebumps.
on the 27th July, 2014 at 8:18pm
they are all italian are they not raised in Italy...did these guys not All learn their craft in italy so what is the problem...the problem is that the media focuses only on the handful of racist idiots at games...rather than the society on the whole if these guys balotelli mast our and el pharaoh were born in italy speak italian and guzzle pasta and play football they must be italian...I have no problems with a multi ethnic multi italy forza italia as for the journalist maybe he is a racist
on the 27th July, 2014 at 12:01pm
@TO, nice effort & a good summary of FI's tedious comments system. That said, by omitting half of my sentence (in your quotation), & going off on a tangent, you have arguably made yourself look more foolish than I did with my original post.
on the 26th July, 2014 at 10:40am
It will be interesting to see if Mastour is just another one of zillions across the globe who promise great things and fails to deliver.

What makes him different is that at age 15 his talent is remarkable.
At best he will become one of the top players in the world.
At worst he will become a decent professional footballer.
He has too much talent not to make it to at least that.

I hope people will recognise him as being italian the same way as Balo and Sharaway are.
on the 25th July, 2014 at 10:53pm
This place needs proper chat rooms.

The delay in messages being posted makes this place

The format also makes it awkward to read back on everyones messages.
on the 25th July, 2014 at 10:49pm

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.