Milan’s boy pharaoh has the world at his feet
Before the start of last season, a young boy by the name of Stephan El Shaarawy was plying his trade at Serie B side Pescara, on loan from Genoa.
His appearances were impressive and he soon caught the eyes of AC Milan, who signed him up in a snap, seeing the huge potential which lay ahead.
Now, in only his second season of top flight football, he is Milan’s top goal scorer – and the youngest top goal scorer for any team in the UEFA Champions league.
He is having the proverbial dream start, and looks set to become one of the greatest players of the next decade.
Stephan was born into a family in Savona to an Italian mother and an Egyptian father, hence his nickname, ‘Il Faraone’, meaning ‘the Pharaoh’. He joined Genoa CFC at thirteen and his career began.
He spent three years in the youth system before making his debut less than two months after his sixteenth birthday against Genoa. This marked him down as the fourth youngest player ever to debut in Serie A.
Despite this, he was loaned to Padova, a Serie B side, the following year. Genoa wanted Stephan to see more first team action in order for him to grow more as a player.
He made 30 appearances for the team, scoring nine goals, which is an impressive feat for a seventeen year old.
There is no doubt that he was instrumental to the team that year. He was their third highest scorer, and he helped them get to the play-offs at the end of the season.
Such an impressive season caught the eye of a few big name clubs, one of which was AC Milan. They made it a top priority to snap him up and on the 25th of June 2011, El Shaarawy signed for the Serie A giants in a co-ownership deal.
This deal saw Alexander Merkel, a promising German, move the other way to Genoa.
El Shaarawy’s first season was impressive for an eighteen year old who had almost no Serie A experience, playing for the title-holders. He scored a goal in just his second game, salvaging a draw against Udinese. This earned him his first start in the next game against Cesena.
His career soared. He made 28 appearances for the Rossoneri, scoring twice in the Coppa Italia competition and twice in Serie A, his performances only truly blossoming after the January break.
He finished the season well and was labeled a potential star of the future. On the 25th of July 2012, El Shaarawy signed an extension, keeping him at AC Milan until 2017. Little did either party realise how crucial this deal would prove to be in the weeks to come.
In the pre-season friendlies he scored against Internazionale, started against the likes of Schalke and Chelsea, and strutted his stuff as a substitute against Real Madrid.
He began the Serie A season with three starting appearances, all of which he was praised for.
But the fireworks didn’t start until his fourth game, when he scored against Udinese. He then scored two against Cagliari in the next match, and in the game following that he scored a goal against Parma.
By this point, it seemed as though he couldn’t stop scoring. El Shaarawy’s exploits were earning him media attention around the world.
Four days later he scored against Zenit St Petersburg in the UEFA Champions League, making him the youngest scorer for AC Milan in the competition. This made him the top goal scorer for AC Milan in both the Serie A, and in all competitions.
During the international break, he received his second ever call up for the Italian national football team and despite not starting, he has racked up 88 minutes in two games.
With club games starting again this weekend and the likes of Alexandre Pato returning, it should be an interesting ride for El Shaarawy, the Boy Pharoah.
But we can be sure of one thing. El Shaarawy’s performances so far have saved AC Milan’s season.
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