5 best Italian wonderkids at the moment
Italy has been at the pinnacle of world football for a very long time, a fact backed by their 4 World Cups, and a European Championship win. This continued domination at the international level has been due to their high-quality production of players from the grassroots level.
Many legends like Buffon, Bonucci, Pirlo, Totti have come out of Italy in the past decade or so and they have all been a part of the academies of Italian clubs like Juventus, Roma, AC Milan and Inter Milan.
These clubs pick young, talented kids from youth tournaments or small local clubs and then nurture and monitor their progress before bringing them onto the big stage. This process of producing quality footballers from the grassroots level to the international stage hasn't just continued over the years. It has thrived.
Here are 5 of Italy's up and coming Wonderkids:
#5 Federico Chiesa (Midfielder/Winger, Fiorentina)
When your father is a Serie A veteran with 380 games under his belt and has scored over 200 goals for teams like Lazio, Sampdoria, Parma and Fiorentina while also representing the national team 17 times, the expectations are usually high for a son to either match the father's achievements or better them.
Federico Chiesa has managed to do just that at the age of 20 by breaking into the Fiorentina first team.
At 10 years of age, Chiesa entered Fiorentina's youth setup and was called up to the U19 squad in 2014.
On 20 August 2016, Chiesa made his senior debut against Italian giants Juventus. In December, he scored his first senior goal against Azerbaijan outfit Qarabag in the Europa league.
Primarily a winger, Chiesa is an energetic, dynamic and skilful midfielder who is effective on either flank or through the middle, with an ability to burst past his marker with his rapid pace and incredible technique. Is also a good passer of the ball with a successful pass rate of 84.7%.
He still has to work on the defensive side of his game and numerous times has been guilty of losing possession. His tendency to lose himself during games and an unwanted habit of keeping his head down during dribbles are some of the things he has to sort out in his game if he wants to make it big in the game.
Chiesa has had a solid start to the 17-18 Serie A season with 2 goals and 1 assist in 11 games. After gaining a season's experience in Serie A, Chiesa's stat line has gradually improved with an increase in attempted shots(3.2), key passes(1.2), dribbles(1.4) and fouls suffered(1.8) per game.
Chiesa is an integral part of Azzurri's youth setup with a combined 18 games for their U19, U20 and U21 sides.