Donnarumma and Bastoni emerging as the real stars of an exciting Serie A campaign

Player Analysis
Massimiliano Macaluso

Massimiliano Macaluso


The 2020/2021 Serie A season has begun only 10 gameweeks ago but it’s already time to talk about some new interesting names of the Italian football, the players of the future of the Azzurri. To these guys we must add the talents who have already started to shine in the past seasons becoming beautiful realities: Gianluigi Donnarumma is only 21 years old but he is already a leader at AC Milan and in the major national team, and like him also Alessandro Bastoni, who is slowly becoming a fundamental pawn of Antonio Conte’s Inter. Together with them, focusing on the upcoming 2021  European Championships there is a good chance of also seeing Nicolò Zaniolo if he returns 100% fit on time (he could come back next March), while Roberto Mancini could decide to include Moise Kean (2000), Sandro Tonali (2000) and Manuel Locatelli (1998) too. But their peers are growing fast and, except unforeseen events, they will be the protagonists of the final stages of the Under 21 European Championships scheduled in Hungary and Slovenia between March and June.

Gabriele Zappa (born in 1999, right back, Cagliari on loan from Pescara)

Let’s start with a very interesting fact: the Cagliari full-back is the youngest of the five top European leagues to have already served 3 winning assists. The greatest qualities of the guy grown in the Inter youth academies are in fact the speed and the ability to cross: after spending a season in Serie B with Pescara, Zappa immediately became the starter in Di Francesco’s 4-3-2-1, playing if necessary even in a more offensive role. In his curriculum, in addition to a few appearances with the Under 21 team, the winning of the Viareggio Tournament in 2018.

Gianluca Scamacca (1999, striker, Genoa, on loan from Sassuolo)

Also Gianluca Scamacca has a Viareggio tournament on his personal palmares, and precisely the 2017 edition won with Sassuolo. But his name started to circulate a lot in Italy as early as 2015 when he left the AS Roma youth academy at sixteen years old to move to PSV Eindhoven. In the meantime he had another experience in Holland with Zwolle and started scoring in Serie B with Cremonese and Ascoli. This year Sassuolo sent him on loan in Serie A to Genoa because they guarantee him more chances to play and obtain visibility and he immediately took advantage of it: after taking part of the Under 19, Under 20 and Under 21 squad (he was the top scorer of the recent qualifying round) is living his best moments during 2020, the year that could finally turn his career.

Tommaso Pobega (1999, midfielder, Spezia, on loan from AC Milan)

1999 is probably the most profitable year for Italian guys: in the midfield there is a guy who started with Triestina and then immediately was noticed by AC Milan, able to quickly show his skills in C with Ternana and in B with Pordenone. His incredible growth was confirmed from the beginning of this season in Serie A with Spezia, just when he seemed that Stefano Pioli would keep him in the squad to make him train alongside Kessie and Bennacer. The impression is that Pobega, already capable of scoring his first goal in Serie A against Juventus and then a few days later a brace against the Iceland Under 21, will return to Milan at the end of the season but to stay.

Matteo Lovato (2000, centre back, Hellas Verona)

Before the start of this Serie A season the name of Matteo Lovato was practically unknown even to many insiders, if only because he had accumulated only 17 appearances in Serie C. But in fact, knowing a little Ivan Juric mentality this is not so surprising: the Hellas Verona coach immediately launched him in the starting eleven as a centre back (a bit like he did last season with Marash Kumbulla) and the Padua-born defender showed off more than convincing games, even against much more experienced rivals such as Morata, Ibrahimovic and Zapata. Continuing like this he can really live the season of his consecration (and those who thought that in Italy there were no more great centre backs, will be immediately denied).

Riccardo Calafiori (2002, left back, AS Roma)

Before admiring his wonderful goal from outside the area, in the Europa League home match against Young Boys, we had already heard so much about Calafiori for his terrible injury that could stop his career forever before it even started. Not only that, the AS Roma left-back made his A debut last season at the Allianz Stadium and managed to score an incredible goal, which was disallowed for offside. Today is the first sub of Spinazzola, tomorrow who knows. But in the meantime, the Giallorossi fans already see him as the heir to the Roman born players dynasty which began recently with Francesco Totti and continued with Daniele De Rossi, Alessandro Florenzi and Lorenzo Pellegrini.

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