Top bins on debut against Real Madrid? AC Milan have a diamond on their hands

AC Milan became somewhat of a fallen giant in the 2010s, but there’s still a charm around the club, much like a rundown detached house that Dion Dublin would have no problem shifting on Homes Under the Hammer.

Despite returning to the top of the mountain and winning the Scudetto in 2021-22, Milan are still very much a side in revival, meaning their pulling power isn’t quite what it once was. Unfortunately, the biggest and best names in world football no longer flock to Serie A like they once did.

It means clubs even at the top of the food chain have to get creative and pull together shrewd transfer business. The Rossoneri did anything but that for much of the last decade, but have pulled it back in recent times and spearheaded their own revival with a much more sensible recruitment drive.

They’ve been particularly good at poaching young talents from within Europe, and particularly Italy.

While that allure of playing for Milan might have diminished in the eyes of many, the club is still very much the pinnacle of European football for young Italian football fans growing up. Watching Kaka, Ronaldinho, Shevchenko pulling on that red and black before turning defenders inside out is enough to mesmerise and suck anyone in.

It’s not just Italians, though. That heritage spreads worldwide. And seeing South Americans head to Italy and carve out such iconic, legendary careers for themselves, earning hero status within Italian cities is what keeps the dream alive for young South Americans today.

That’s likely what played a part in Milan being able to pluck young Luka Romero from Lazio this summer. The Argentine teenager made the move from the capital up to northern Italy this summer, arriving with a lot of promise weighing down on his shoulders, as the first footballer born in 2004 to score in Serie A.

Romero signed for Lazio from Mallorca in 2021, having moved to the Balearic Islands aged seven and beginning his football education in Europe.

And despite being a rather sickening 18 years of age, he’s already got more talent in his big toe than any of us here at Planet Football could muster up between us, when it comes to kicking a ball. Not on, really.

With all the focus on Milan’s big sale of boyhood fan Sandro Tonali to Newcastle, the spotlight has been away from their incoming. But there is quietly a serious need for them to deliver, and fast, so as to not slip away from the top of Serie A once again after finishing fourth last season.

That’s a lot of expectation to pile onto an 18-year-old arriving from Lazio. No matter how good he could be. Milanisti got their first glimpse of the Argentina under-20 international recently, though, in a friendly against none other than Real Madrid.

No pressure, then.

A thrilling clash saw the game end 3-2 to Real, with the big hitters stealing the show. Until they didn’t. Because Romero announced himself to football’s main event in the most jaw-dropping style imaginable.

Luka, mate. That’s beautiful. Or better yet, bellissimo, as the people of Milan will cry out.

There’s a bit going on here, so let’s dissect. Firstly, the socks. Low-cut. On the shin. Baller status, that. Probably says it all.

As the ball pinballs around and eventually out of the Real box, Romero slowly positions himself between defenders, before heading into the half space. A pass is fired into his feet, and time appears to slow down around him as he kills it with a touch seemingly made of silk.

He then settles the ball, swivels and wraps his foot around it, sending it curling into orbit before it viciously dips down and into the back of the net, leaving the goalkeeper helpless.

All in a matter of seconds. Instinct stuff. He’s just pulled that off on the fly. Like a veteran. Completely unfazed by the fact that he’s not only now representing Milan, but up against Los Blancos.

We needn’t say much more. Stefano Pioli and the Rossoneri have poached a diamond from Lazio. Keep a close eye on him this season.

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