UEFA.com's weekly wonderkid: Moise Kean
Saturday, 3 December 2016
Aged 16, Juventus forward Moise Kean has made the step up from the UEFA Youth League to the UEFA Champions League, where he created a piece of competition history on matchday five.
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Moise Kean, 16, hit the headlines last week when he became the first player born this millennium to feature in the UEFA Champions League.
Name: Moise Kean
Debut: 19 November 2016 v Pescara
Born: 28 February 2000
Preferred foot: right
They say ...
"Kean has really improved lately both tactically and technically. He needed a bit of time to adapt, but now he is a player in the first-team squad, like all the others."
Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus coach
"Today we can speak about a promising player, but a bit of time needs to pass before we can talk about a real talent. Watching a 16-year-old playing for a team like Juve, however, is a great thing for football. Our objective is to mould a human being with great values – not only a great footballer."
Giuseppe Marotta, Juventus CEO
"He is a panther like [Thierry] Henry and a fighter like [Carlos] Tévez. Moise works hard on the pitch and always gives everything because this is what he learns every day at Juve. They helped him to mature. They are the best possible club for him to grow at."
Giovanni Kean, Moise's brother and footballer himself
Born in Vercelli, about 70km from Turin, to Ivorian parents, Moise followed in the footsteps of his older brother Giovanni, who played in Serie D and the Greek second division.
He joined the Torino academy from Asti but then moved to city rivals Juventus when still only ten and scored plenty of goals for the Bianconeri's various youth sides – 21 in ten games at Under-15 level and 24 in 26 for the U17s, all the while playing against older opponents.
At the 2016 UEFA European U17 Championship in Azerbaijan, however, Kean was sent off late in Italy's second group match, having found the net in their finals opener against Serbia. He was back among the goals at the start of this season, registering in Juve's first two UEFA Youth League fixtures.
Playing style ...
Blessed with sound aerial ability and an accurate shot, Kean usually occupies a central attacking role, while he can also use his powerful running in wide areas. He has shown a willingness to hold up the ball and press defenders when his team lose possession.
Shades of ...
Kean has drawn comparisons to his idol Mario Balotelli – he once displayed a shirt emblazoned with the words 'Why always me?' after scoring for Juve's U17s. He does not yet have the powerful shot from distance that is in the Balotelli armoury. However, he runs more at defences and is a clever mover off the ball.
Eureka moment ...
The 16-year-old came off the bench against Sevilla on 22 November with the match level at 1-1 and made an instant impact as Juve scored twice in the closing stages.
"[Leonardo] Bonucci's goal came after Kean won a physical battle in the box," Allegri said after the Group H encounter. "After an understandable dip – psychological more than anything – he is on the up again and showing what he can do."
Best-case scenario ...
Injuries afforded Kean his chance in the senior squad. But with Gonzalo Higuaín, Mario Mandžukić and Paulo Dybala ahead of him, Kean will benefit from a loan spell or two to gain experience and continue his development. Juve, though, believe he has the potential to become a key first-teamer.
He says ...
"I'm so happy about my Serie A debut. But this is just the beginning, I must always aim higher."
"It's normal to face players older than me. I've always done it in every category I've played in and I don't find it difficult."