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A new generation, a new “Phenomenon”..

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As both an Inter and Italy supporter, it must bring absolute joy to see Alessandro Bastoni on the path to become the next global superstar.

Early Life – 

It was April 12th 1999, and the Backstreet Boys have released their hit single “I want it that way”. A day later, Alessandro would be born into the world.

From a young age, Alessandro would prove to be a very talented player. At the mere age of 7, Bastoni would have his first trial with Atalanta, where he would be accepted into their youth academy.

As Ale grew up, he had the full support of his father Nicola who would travel with the family to watch Ale play. Nicola Bastoni played Serie B for Cremonese so football was always in the family and a great passion of theirs.

Bastoni worked his way successfully through the ranks at Atalanta becoming an integral part of the youth structure at the club. The colours of Black and Blue would be apart of Bastoni’s future as his career would progress pretty rapidly.

Professional success –

In January 2017, the dream would become reality with Bastoni debuting in Serie A for Atalanta at the age of 17. It would be a great result for Bastoni and Atalanta, as they would keep Sampdoria scoreless in a 1-0 victory, where Bastoni played the full 90 minutes.

Just 6 months after his full Serie A debut, Inter signed Bastoni from Atalanta for a fee of €31 million. Pretty crazy considering Bastoni had only played 3 games for Atalanta in total.

We’ve seen that signing on potential hasn’t faired well for Inter in recent times, but Bastoni would be the exception.

Inter would cut short a previous loan deal with Atalanta to bring Bastoni back early. This has proven in being a masterstroke, as Bastoni is able to shine at the Italian giants Inter Milan.

Over the past couple of years, if you have watched Inter closely you have seen his potential on the field. Growing in confidence as time goes by has put Bastoni in the elite young defenders coming through the Italian ranks.

The greatest achievement so far would be the call up for the Italian national team. As Mancini has been doing lately from an international point of view, giving youth the opportunity to shine on the world stage.

As all young men growing up in Italy, it must be an absolute honour for Bastoni to wear that Azzurri jersey which so many great Italian men have worn before him. Bravo to this young man!

“Beastoni” –

Since a very successful debut for the national team, there have been many compliments thrown Bastoni’s way.

The biggest compliment would come with a comparison to Giuseppe “Lo Zio” Bergomi. For those reading who are unsure about who Bergomi is, he will go arguably down as the greatest Inter Milan defender of all time and in the top 5 defenders to ever play football. Of course this comparison is very early in a career, but imagine if Bastoni was to prove people right in this case.

In the match against Poland, we saw Bastoni take the responsibility of man-marking Lewandowski for the whole game. The Polish striker, who you could argue is the best striker in the world right now, would not manage a shot on target. The defending from Bastoni was first class and Bergomi would’ve been proud of this showing.

Bastoni really has all the attributes to make him on of the best defenders in the world. Combining height (1.91m), speed, vision with the ball, heading ability and physicality are all the features one would need to succeed. We truly have a gem on our hands.

Where to next?

Naturally, Ale will keep developing both mentally and physically as years go by. We mustn’t forget he is only 21 years of age which still blows my mind.

In Bastoni’s second year at Inter, we saw Inter become the best defence in Italy which was a great achievement for the club. Allowing for another qualification for Champions League.

Bastoni was struck with COVID during this season, and we saw Inter quickly become the worst defence in Italy. The calm headed Italian is becoming a key part of Inter’s lineup. He can learn a lot from his club partners in De Vrij and Skriniar, in the same way they can learn from him.

Bastoni must keep working on his positioning and this will be his major focus. It’s not a weakness at all, but to become a superb defender, he must be able to read strikers and make moves before they make them.

Although 2020 has been a challenging year in many ways, seeing Bastoni start to discover his potential is definitely one of the biggest positives.

 

Written by Matthew Pickham