Amad has the quality to fight for a Ballon d’Or in five years

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After completing his big-money transfer from Atalanta in January, the 18-year-old winger has already begun to make an impact at Old Trafford.

Amad Diallo, a Manchester United winger, has been expected to compete for the Ballon d’Or in five years by the man who arranged his transfer to Atalanta’s academy.

Following his January transfer from Bergamo, the 18-year-old winger has made an impressive start to life at Old Trafford.

His displays, which remain sporadic for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, have been rewarded with a first call-up to the senior Ivory Coast squad this month, as well as a place on Goal’s NXGN list of the top teenage talents in world football.

What was said?

Giovanni Galli, a former AC Milan and Italy goalkeeper, was serving as the sporting director for Serie C side Lucchese when he met Amad, who had been impressing for Boca Barco.

Galli organised a trial for the youngster at Atalanta using his connections, and he has since watched him grow into one of the best players in both Serie A and now the Premier League.

“Amad is unique,” Galli told Goal in an exclusive interview, “but he must make himself stronger.

“At the same time, he must make sure he does not lose his speed, which is a quality that distinguishes him from others.”

He added: “In short, I think he has all the qualities to be a candidate for the Ballon d’Or in the next five years.”

Amad Diallo: The story so far

Amad Traore and his older brother, Hamed Traore, who now plays for Sassuolo, arrived in Italy as 12-year-olds and soon started representing Boca Barco.
Galli had them practise with his own players at Lucchese to gauge their skill when it became obvious that they were much too good to be playing at such a high level.
“I immediately knew that both of them had above-average quality,” he said. “For Amad, it was his technique and speed that made him stand out.”

Despite his age, Amad was immediately assigned to the Under-15s, where he quickly established himself as the team’s star player as they won the league in his first season.

He progressed rapidly through the age groups before joining the first team, where club captain Papu Gomez recalled that “some defenders had to kick him because he played like [Lionel] Messi.”

Amad went on to score on his Serie A debut in October 2019 before, a year later, United negotiated a deal that would see him move to the Theatre of Dreams for an initial £19 million ($25m), though that could rise to as much as £37m ($48m).

When will Amad be given more chances at Man Utd?

Given the money charged, some wanted to see a lot more of Amad than they have, with the youngster only appearing in the Europa League and FA Cup so far.

Given that he joined the Red Devils with just 59 minutes of first-team football under his belt, that shouldn’t have came as a big surprise.

Solskjaer has hailed his “appetite” in training, and Amad – who United first scouted three years ago when he was playing for Atalanta’s U15s – is beginning to build relationships with his team-mates as he gets to grips with learning English.

And Galli believes that it will be in 2021-22 that fans get to see the real Amad arrive in the English game.

“He is very young and has already made his debut in the Europa League just two months after arriving in England,” he said. “I think next year he will have more chances to stand out in the first team.

“He is a very good player, but he has to remember that talent alone is not enough. He has to work hard and become a footballer who plays for and with the team.”

Further reading



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