A few weeks back, AC Milan have confirmed that Brahim Diaz has joined the club on loan from Real Madrid for the 2020-21 season.

The Rossoneri swooped definitively over the past week to secure the 21-year-old on a one-year dry loan, but almost all major sources are reporting that the Rossoneri will talk to Real Madrid throughout the season about making it permanent.

Brahim struggled to rack up much game time since making the move to the Spanish capital from Manchester City back in January 2019. He has made just five La Liga starts since moving, making only substitute appearances in the top-flight last season.

Born in Malaga on August 3, 1999, Diaz began his journey in football at Malaga Youth, where he was identified by the scouts of Manchester City and joined their academy in 2014.

He has progressed through their age groups, where he has played alongside Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho.

In 2016, Diaz made his first-team debut for City, coming on as an 80th-minute substitute to replace Kelechi Iheanacho in an EFL Cup tie against Swansea City. Five days later, he signed his first professional contract with City, for three years.

In 2017, Diaz made his Champions League debut against Feyenoord, coming on in injury time for Raheem Sterling.  On December 19, 2017, Brahim made his first club start, playing for 88 minutes against Leicester City in the League Cup.

He made his Premier League debut on January 20, 2018, in a 3–1 victory over Newcastle United, and five months later, he received a winner’s medal after appearing sporadically in four more league games over the season.

Brahim played the final 15 minutes in place of Phil Foden a 2–0 win over Chelsea in the 2018 FA Community Shield.

Later that season, Brahim would score his first career goal for City, netting both times in a 2–0 win over Fulham.

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Diaz’s abilities on the pitch have left Guardiola stating that the club “will do absolutely everything” to keep him in a sky blue shirt. But it appears that the lure of Real Madrid may be more appealing for the boy who has been dubbed the Spanish Messi by certain sections of the media.

Following intense transfer speculation, coupled with his contract with Manchester City due to expire in June 2019, Brahim joined Real Madrid on 6 January, for a transfer fee of £15.5 million (€17 million). His contract, which runs until 2025, also includes potential add-ons, which could see the value of the transfer to rise to £22 million (€24 million).

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The transfer also includes clauses that stipulate a 15% sell-on fee to be received by City, which would rise to 40% should Brahim depart Madrid and transfer to “another Manchester club”.

He made his debut on January 9, 2019, coming on as a substitute in a 3–0 victory over CD Leganes in the Copa del Rey.

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His league debut came four days later when he again came in as a substitute in a 2–1 win over Real Betis. He scored his first goal on 12 May 2019, in a 1–3 defeat at Real Sociedad.

He made six appearances during the league season, as Real Madrid won the 2019–20 La Liga.

Now, Diaz is a Rossoneri. It is never easy to find a permanent place in teams like Manchester City and Real Madrid and thus the best possible way to transform talents into deeds is to play in a team, where there would be the opportunity to have more playing time, and right now AC Milan would be the ideal place for the 20-year-old.

Still, at present, AC Milan have the players to challenge the talent of Diaz.

Diaz is a midfielder and in Milan, at the center of the park, there are enough quality players, who would not leave any stone unturned to showcase their talent. Moreover, the signing of Sandro Tonali has given Milan the cutting-edge in the central midfield position.

Now, Diaz is someone who is blessed with an attacking instinct – he can play as a versatile forward, either as an attacking midfielder or as a winger.

The low center of gravity of Diaz allows him to twist and turn his way past the opposition defenders. He lacks the pace but possesses great close-control and uses this weapon to break lines and advance the attack. His dribbling skills change the tempo of the attack and this turns midfield possession into a real goal scoring opportunity.

Diaz does not operate in the wider area – demonstrates his desire to be in possession, regardless of being under pressure in busy areas. His bravery in possession stretches beyond his fantastic dribbling ability. As he is comfortable shooting from distance and making that killer passes for assists; another way he breaks defensive lines.

The youngster does not only demonstrate unlimited technical skill, but also an ability to observe and anticipate attacking openings. Traditionally, it is the role of the striker that moves players out of lines in order to create space for teammates to move into. But Diaz’s movement and timing offloading the ball means he acts as a magnet. He attracts players towards him and exploits the space they have left – the perfect recipe for a false nine.

Again, he is able to press and hound them into moving the ball or be caught in possession. This can be the perfect trigger for teammates to join in the press in order to win the ball high up the pitch.

To bring the best out of Diaz, Stefano Pioli might have to switch to a 4-3-3 or 3-2-2-3 formation with Diaz playing as a pure winger. But that might not happen more often and Pioli would stick to the 4-2-3-1 formation. Diaz can be used in the second half as a substitution for the player playing on the right and inject more versatility if the coach decides not to start with him, but it would not be a smart move if he is not given enough playing time to gain his momentum.


One cannot just waste such a talent by letting him warming the benches.

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