Number Eight: Alessio Riccardi
Current Club: AS Roma with a loan deal likely
Future Comparison: Isco
Who is He?
The crown jewel of the Roma youth set up and the next in line in the Roman tradition at the club, Riccardi has been with the club since he was just 8 years old. He made his senior side debut in the Coppa Italia last season at just 17. Riccardi starred for Roma in the UEFA Youth League scoring five times in seven matches and even received a call up to one of Roberto Mancini’s Azzurri side training camps last April. Riccardi has also featured for the Azzurri at the U15, U16, U17, and U19 levels.
What Can He Do?
To put it simply: A lot. Riccardi is about as versatile a midfielder as you can find. The young Roman featured around the pitch for Alberto De Rossi’s side; most often playing in a central midfield role. However, he’s also seen time at the mediano, trequartista, and wide positions.
Riccardi seems to posses the full skill set to go along with that positional versatility. That skill set was summed up nicely by one scouting report on Riccardi:
Elegant, very technically gifted, fast, skilled in dribbling and in possession with a remarkable acceleration with the ball at his feet, Riccardi has a great shot from distance; an important “arrow” in his wide quiver, which he uses very often during the game.
Those traits can be seen in his double scored against Juve’s Primavera side last season, especially on the second goal where his dribbling and pace tore the Bianconeri to shreds. Meanwhile, his shooting ability can be seen in the second video, again against Juve’s Primavera.
The scouting report continues by praising Riccardi’s vision and ability to defend the ball when in possession. On the defensive side of the ball, Riccardi will work hard for his side. He has also been praised for his team spirit and leadership ability, even captaining Italy’s U17 finalist side during last summer’s European Championships.
What Can He Become?
The ceiling looks to be high for Riccardi. If all goes according to plan then Riccardi should become one of Roma’s cornerstone players in the next couple years. Riccardi grew up idolizing Totti and although he’s not on Il Capitano’s talent level, there are some parallels to his game. Roma will look for him to fill that same #10 role in the not so distant future.
At minimum, Riccardi looks to be an above average player, however, with the right tutelage, Riccardi looks to have star potential. Best case scenario, he and Pellegrini will become the faces of a new Roman generation.