Italy has produced some quality young talent in recent years. The latest such talent emerges from the young ranks of Inter Milan in the form of Federico Bonazzoli. Amogh Patki has a scout report on the 17 year old Italian youngster.
Being a tall forward can be a pain in the arse. After all, the big frame is supposed to hinder acceleration and ball control. Height itself does not make you a hero: you need to make those extra few inches count. Getting ahead of your man at the most opportune moment and the ability to disregard the occupational hazards needs balls, massive balls. That’s not all; you have to be the good on the ball and have an eye for the goal. But if you do have these, you make up a very tasty proposition and that can mean a happy headache for the manager. And that’s what Federico Bonazzoli has been, ever since he got promoted to Inter Milan senior team this year.
Bonazzoli is a 17 year old forward who has been at the Milanese outfit for ten years now. He made his debut on May 18th this year when he came on in for Ruben Botta against Chievo Verona aged just 16 years, 11 months and 27 days thereby becoming the second youngest debutant in Serie A. His performances in the youth league recently earned him permanent promotion to the first team. There’s no dearth of praise for him as he has been christened the new Vieri who was as much known for bullying as feared for his left foot. While on paper this seems blown out of proportion, one really has to see the 6ft 4in striker brush the defenders aside with strength or bamboozle them with finesse and hit a thunderous volley from outside the box, to really understand his potential. After all, how often do you see tall strikers waltz their way past defenders as if they weren’t there?
Talent Radar Accolades:
Named in 100 to Watch in 2016 feature
The current scene at Inter Milan is quite an interesting one: the senior team is a massive 18 points off pace, meanwhile the youth team leads the conference unbeaten with ten wins and two draws. Inter did top their Euro league table, but the unforgiving nature of fans doesn’t really help. Also as the clouds of FFP regulation refuse to leave San Siro just yet, it is imperative that the management pays heed to their young starlets, among whom, Bonazzoli tops the chart. Rightly so, he was the first to be promoted full time.
Bonazzoli featured in our list of 100 Best Young Players to watch in 2016.
Style, Strengths and Weaknesses
At 1.92m, you’d expect Bonazzoli to be an aerial bomber. However, statistics have a different story to tell: most of his goals are from his fearsome left foot. Not the one to shy away from taking a first time shot from outside the box, Bonazzoli has an eye for the spectacular, and doesn’t disappoint too often. With adequate shot power and accuracy on tap, his shooting tests the goalkeeper more often than not. He also does show occasional flashes of an acrobatic brilliance, something that usually doesn’t go hand in hand with the taller strata of the striker society.
Propensity to break into a dancing, weaving dribble (a la Ibra!) adds another dimension to his already wonderful game and possibly another couple of millions to his already inflating market value. Bonazzoli’s current tally stands at 5 goals in 3 games in primavera (includes a 4-for against Perugia). He’s currently goalless in the senior team but you’d fancy him to break the deadlock soon.
Unfortunately, there are a few things that threaten to burst this bubble: extreme selfishness in the final third is one of them. Bonazzoli refuses to acknowledge the presence of a team mate once he gets inside the penalty area with the ball at his feet. Sure, forwards are expected to have that kind of single-minded mentality, but the Italian has taken it too seriously, it seems. His aerial ability is largely unknown, but it should be a strong point, given his height and the considerable physicality of play.
While not really a poacher, he makes up with his potent long range shooting and volleys. He has shown commendable poise in retaining the ball against professional defenders, but one cannot be too critical if he fails to do so, at this stage. Although currently not too bad with movement off the ball, he could certainly look to improve it.
Despite heading becoming a fading art, it is something that he can work on and make the most of, given his physical stature. Hitting the gym could only help him, given that the taller players who are less strong could go down easy because of their high centre of gravity.
As always, the problem with further development of precocious talents is identification of a proper environment for the lad. Inter Milan as an establishment, doesn’t really shine in that area, as many academy graduates after being rejected from the first team, found greener pastures somewhere else. The name “Andrea Pirlo” inflicts more pain on a Nerazzurro than anyone else, in that case. That said, the next step for Bonazzoli will be very crucial. But there’s a certain amount of truth to the adage that talent shines irrespective of condition; and we’ll hope that it’s true.
The Azzuri have undergone resurgence in the talent department. While the likes of El Sharawy and Veratti are already in the thick of the things, Domenico Berardi and Simone Scuffet seem to have followed in their slipstream. You almost get the feeling that with guys like Bonazzoli and Hachim Mastour, Italian attack will reclaim its lost glory, by the scruff of its neck. And with a hairstyle not too fancy for a 17 year old footballer, Bonazzoli is a future star and he is damn right aware of it!
Written by Amogh Patki
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- Scout Report | Federico Bonazzoli: Inter’s Emerging Talent - December 18, 2014