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When Italian giants AC Milan decided to sign 14-year-old playmaker and child prodigy Hachim Mastour from Reggina for a reported €500,000 in 2012, many touted the youngster to flourish into a global superstar.
At just 15-years-old, Mastour was playing for the club's U21 side and a matter of months later, he was promoted to Milan's first team by Clarence Seedorf for their final league clash of the 2013/14 season against Sassuolo.
With many predicting that Mastour would get on and break Paulo Maldini's record as the club's youngest ever player, Seedorf decided against using the Moroccon, who came agonising close to making history.
It's a statement that unfortunately sums up Mastour's time in football this far; so close yet so far.
From playing with the likes of Michael Essien, Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy in the first team to being released from his contract three years later, things haven't exactly gone to plan for this YouTube sensation tipped for Ballon d'Or success.
It has been a difficult journey for the 22-year-old playmaker and his latest move has raised many eyebrows.
Mastour, who plays for Serie C side Reggina - the Italian club he began his journey with in 2008 - has recently joined fellow Serie C side Carpi on a loan deal until the end of the season.
Who remembers Hachim Mastour?- Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) January 14, 2021
He has now signed for Serie C side Carpi, this is the 22 year old's 5th club since being in Milan's Primavera :open_mouth: pic.twitter.com/xGyr0K5ZIb
Hachim Mastour's career in reverse would be a dream.- Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) January 15, 2021
Yesterday he signed to Serie C side Carpi on loan from Reggina. pic.twitter.com/f3B3AODo5N
Mastour's rise to the top began when a YouTube compilation of the youngster emerged online.
After he scored five goals in the Ielasi Memorial tournament just months later, including one in the final against AS Roma, things were about to get serious.
Mastour was leaps and bounds ahead of his competition and his fancy footwork managed to culminate a huge amount of views and fans in the meantime.
In the space of a few months, the Moroccan was being touted as the biggest talent in world football. He'd racked up millions of views and suddenly the pressure began to pile on his young shoulders.
Milan went on win the 14-year-old's signature under the recommendation of former manager Arrigo Sacchi and, despite another turbulent season in Serie A, a rare glimpse of optimism began to circulate around the club.
Matour was being compared to Wesley Sneijder for his ability in possession but it seemed his ability to defend was a weakness to his game.
That being said, AC Milan manager Clarence Seedorf was clearly impressed and handed him that place on the bench against Sassuolo, but that was his last sniff of first team football for the Italian giants.
Despite falling out of favour, Mastour was soon given the chance to prove himself in Spain with La Liga side Malaga; although he only made a brief five minute appearance in a 1- 0 defeat to Real Betis before being ousted back to the San Siro.
A week after returning to Milan and the club had already offloaded the teenager to Dutch side PEC Zwolle.
He went on to making just five senior appearances for the club and was handed back to Milan with one year left on his contract.
Once with the world at his feet, Mastour left Milan and joined Greek side Lamia on a free transfer in 2018, where he made just six appearances at the 5,500 capacity Lamia Municipal Stadium before leaving to join Serie C side Reggina.
Let's hope he can live up to his potential and flourish at Serie C side Carpi in the coming months.
Featured Image Credit: Hachim Mastour/Instagram
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