Alessio Romagnoli 21 Defender AC Milan Italy
Italy’s next great central defender, a lineage it’s worth thinking about for a moment. We’ll wait. Finished? Good. We spent a lot of time thinking about Baresi too.
Alessio Romagnoli is 21 years old, has already impressed at three Serie A clubs, moved for €25m, is now a starting centre-back for Milan, has effortlessly moved into the full international side having represented Italy at every youth level, and spent the summer keeping his head down as his club were busy turning away silly money transfer bids from Chelsea and others. He’s achieved more in his four top-flight seasons than most do in a career.
2016 has been…
…good, but then that should be no surprise because at this stage we can safely say that this is what he does - play really well and look like a man ten years or more into his career; safe, assured and incredibly mature.
There’s a bracket in the 100 reviews for players who are clearly a cut above, the top two or three percent. It’s usually the attacking players you remember - Pogba, Gotze, Hazard, Neymar etc - but here’s a young man who sits in there with them all. He’s a top class international defender right now, not a prospect or a hope for the future, we mean right this very minute. We’ll go further and say there is very few sides in world football he wouldn’t instantly improve by joining. High praise? Maybe, but we believe he really is that good.
Left-footed, natural on the ball, doesn’t look or feel like a compromise if moved to full-back, strong, tall, elegant in the tackle - he really is quite the Italian football stereotype. His club are about the business of trying to become AC Milan again this season and we would argue Italian football desperately needs them to succeed. Alessio Romagnoli is going to be a huge part of that process and both club and player look set to stay together for a while. We’re excited.
Italian football needs clubs who can challenge Juve’s dominance longer term and Milan, we hope, are going about the longer-term business of doing that. It may not happen this season although the start has been promising, but in a couple of years we’d love to see them back in the Champion’s League and competing. We would also dearly love to see this young man front and centre of that rise. There is something deeply dreamy about seeing really good defenders in Milan colours and in time Romanogli could sit alongside most in the club’s history if he continues to grow like this.
So an overwhelmingly positive review and we’ve completely managed to avoid all those Maldini comparisons. We desperately try not to get too hyperbolic in these reviews or make sweeping predictions about the future, but there is a chance here, and more than a puncher’s chance in truth, that you might be looking at one of the top three or four defenders in world football when he peaks. Prepare to swoon.
B A player right now, a potential legend in the future, please don’t let us down
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