In 2000, there was no Facebook. Or Twitter. Boy bands were still in vogue. And it also happens to be the year that Juventus starlet Moise Kean was born.
Youngsters making waves in football is no exception. There’s always going to be the “next Pele” or the “next Messi” or the next this or that. At 16, Kean, who is of Ivorian heritage but plays his international football for Italy has created a lot of buzz as of late. Yes, he is immensely talented, as his impressive stats for La Vecchia Signora’s youth sides indicate. But what really has people talking is the fact that he has been on the cusp of making history for the past few weeks.
Getting his big break at Juventus
It goes without saying that one person’s misfortune can be another’s opportunity. In Kean’s case, it was an injury to Croatian international Marko Pjaca, followed by another for key man Paulo Dybala that prompted Massimiliano Allegri to call him up to the first team. The Vercelli-born youngster has already proven himself with Juventus’s various youth teams. 21 goals in just 10 matches for the u-15’s and 24 in 26 for the u-17’s. And when put with kids at least two years older, he was more than up to the task, netting six in ten for the Primavera.
Despite his tender age – he turned 16 only back in February – Kean has shown a maturity and self-confidence that belies his years. That being said, he has already drawn comparisons to another Italian of African heritage who was projected as the next big thing a decade ago. Coincidentally, he and the striker ten years his senior, who is none other than Mario Baoltelli, share the same agent Mino Raiola. In addition, despite being of Ivorian descent, he was born in Italy.
And hence, like Balotelli, has decided to declare his loyalty to the Azzurri as opposed to representing his ancestral land. All in all, it goes without saying that many will hope that this interesting connection – and similarities – will not ultimately result in an awful case of déjà vu a few years down the line. In essence, that Kean will not become yet another of those “missed potentials” or “what could have been stories”.
All await his debut on the big stage
Kean has admitted he admires Balotelli, and was even photographed wearing a shirt with that infamous catchphrase “Why Always Me?” that has been attributed to the enigmatic striker. Nonetheless, he has publicly acknowledged that the man he has been compared to is prone to some “stupid mistakes”. Furthermore, he reportedly shows a strong work ethic that puts other players But so far, so good. He’s been named to the bench on several occasions by Allegri, including for big games against AC Milan and Napoli.
Whilst he has yet to make an appearance, there is an overwhelming sense of excitement and hope about what the youngster has in store – both for club and country. It is inevitable that he will eventually make an appearance for Juventus, and if he does so, he will make history as the first ever player born in the new millennium to feature for the senior side. At this time, the Bianconeri lag well behind sides like Barcelona in terms of youth players making it big with the senior side. In fact, the only player of note has been midfielder Claudio Marchisio, who has spent his entire career with La Vecchia Signora.
So, as we all await his debut on the big stage goes without saying that Juventus will be definitely hoping to hang on to Kean for as long as possible. And there are plenty of big things in store for the 16-year-old – provided that he is managed properly, with the unfortunate tale of Balotelli hopefully serving as a guideline for what to do and what not to do in ensuring that he reaches his full potential.