Stephan El-Shaarawy cannot contain his excitement at becoming a Milan player. “I'll try to mature, develop and earn my place.”
The Italian Under-21 international impressed last season at Padova in Serie B and was bought from Genoa in a co-ownership deal worth €20m.
“These first few days at Milanello have been very exciting, as I got to know great champions and extraordinary people. The top players were the ones who gave me the best advice, and Gennaro Gattuso said he'd cut my hair with a tackle!
“My objectives for this term are to learn, mature, develop and earn my place. It takes a lot of hard work and I am willing to do that. I prefer to play as a trequartista, although I can also do well as a support striker, which is where Coach Massimiliano Allegri has tested me so far.”
El-Shaarawy is nicknamed ‘The Little Pharaoh' thanks to his mixed heritage.
“I am very tied to the land of my father, Egypt, but I also feel Italian because I was born and raised in Italy. Let's say I feel a little Egyptian and a little Italian.
“I am passionate about Milan and as a little boy would go to the stadium to see the games. This has always been the club in my heart.”
He hopes to follow in the footsteps of former Rossoneri hero Kaka, who he considers to be an inspiration.
“Kaka has always been my idol. I've often been compared to him for the way I run with the ball at my feet, but the great thing about Kaka is he's a wonderful person as well as a champion.”