In recent years, the Italian football side has looked a shadow of its former self out on the field. Their last great success as a nation came way back in 2012 where they managed to fight their way to the Euro 2012 finals, and even then, they were completely outplayed by a world-class Spanish outfit.
Italian football reached, arguably, its lowest point in 2017 when – for the first time in 60 years – they failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Azzurri players, fans and coaching staff went through every emotion imaginable on that day, from disbelief to anger and ultimately, acceptance.
Luckily for the European giants, there is hope on the horizon. Hope in the form of five youngsters who have the talent to set the Serie A alight, and bring Italian football back to what we know and love. These are the five players who have the ability to get Italian football back to where it was.
Sandro Tonali – Brescia
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Dubbed as the “next Andrea Pirlo”, Brescia’s midfield superstar, Sandro Tonali, had a stellar 2018/19 season in the Serie B, and helped his club earn promotion to the top flight for next season.
He was named the Serie B Footballer of the Year in his debut season last year, after outclassing opposition players with far more experience, and has since become one of the most sought after midfielders in Europe.
The fact that the youngster was called up to the national side – despite playing in the second-tier of Italian club football – should be all the evidence we need to see that he has the ability to become one of Italy’s greatest footballers.
Frederico Chiesa – Fiorentina
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Following in his father’s footsteps, Frederico Chiesa is an attacking midfielder who has been a sleeper for Fiorentina. His no-fuss, can-do attitude means that he always finds himself in the right place, at the right time.
The 21-year-old is always on the move, taking on fullbacks, cutting inside, and going for goal. Despite his small frame, he is an incredibly powerful player who has no problem taking on hard challenges, and dishing them out, too.
His talent has been described as unorthodox, and there is no doubt, he has certainly made a name for himself as one of the most exciting talents in the Serie A.
Alessandro Bastoni – Inter Milan
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Alessandro Bastoni is another youngster who caught the eye last season, following a successful loan spell at newly-promoted Parma. He helped I Crociati keep their spot in the Serie A for next season, and now finds himself in the plans of Inter boss, Antonio Conte.
With Diego Godin receiving some much needed rest, Bastoni has been a big part of Inter's pre-season preparations. His performances have been assured and confident, and the young defender has played with a maturity that many athletes only develop later in their careers.
He may not be a guaranteed starter for Conte, but the 20-year-old could be the first-choice replacement for Inter, and could find himself playing an important role over the course of a long season. He will be especially helpful if Inter go deep into the Coppa Italia and Champions League competitions.
Daniel Maldini – AC Milan
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Daniel Maldini is the son of Italian legend Paolo Maldini and grandson of Cesare. Unlike his father, Daniel plays upfront for Milan, and has had an incredible pre-season, despite finding himself in some tricky situations against tough oppostition.
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Much like his father, and grandfather, Daniel Maldini appears to have plenty of time on the ball. Composed, smart, and quick are just some of the phrases used to describe him, and while he may not be the physical threat his father was, his ability to break down defences puts him head and shoulders above the rest.
Milan have already rejected bids from a number of Serie B sides who are interested in helping the youngster develop, and the belief is that new manager, Marco Giampaolo, wants to keep a close eye on his progress, with a view to bringing him into the first-team fold.
Gianluigi Donnarumma – AC Milan
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'Gigio' as he is affectionately known, made his Serie A debut in October 2015 aged just 16. He now seems like a veteran in an AC Milan team that has gone through a lot of changes.
While he is not exactly the finished product yet, he’s not far off. With legend Gianluigi Buffon having retired, there is a massive void to fill between the Italian posts, and Donnarumma looks like the most obvious choice.
He has already played 128 Serie A games for his boyhood club and looks to be constantly improving. While he has had his fair-share of controversy, it looks as though the young shot stopper has grown up in the lead up to the new season.
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