Locatelli with Milan in 2017
|Full name||Manuel Locatelli|
|Date of birth||8 January 1998|
|Place of birth||Lecco, Italy|
|Height||1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|2018–2019||→ Sassuolo (loan)||29||(2)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 12:20, 8 January 2020 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 19 November 2019
Locatelli began his career with Atalanta, before moving to Milan at the age of 11 years. With the Rossoneri he progressed through each youth category, from Esordienti to Primavera. In March 2015, Locatelli signed his first professional contract with Milan, effective from 1 July 2015 until 30 June 2018.
Locatelli received his first ever call-up to Milan's senior team ahead of the away game against Udinese played on 22 September 2015; he, however, remained an unused substitute. Later that season, he was promoted into the first team by Milan then head coach Siniša Mihajlović. He made his Serie A debut aged 18, on 21 April 2016, replacing Andrea Poli after 87 minutes in a 0−0 home draw against Carpi. On 14 May 2016 he made his debut as a starter, in the last league match of the season against Roma at the San Siro.
He made his season debut in a 1–0 victory over Sampdoria appearing as a second-half substitute. On 2 October 2016, after coming on as a substitute for captain Riccardo Montolivo, Locatelli scored his first Serie A goal with his first ever shot goal in a dramatic 4–3 win over Sassuolo. Beginning the season on the bench, Locatelli received his first start of the season on 16 October at Chievo, taking over the deep-lying playmaker role in midfield vacated by Montolivo, who suffered a long-term injury over the international break. On 22 October, Locatelli scored with his second ever Serie A shot on target, the only goal in a rival match against Juventus, a strike with the outside of his right foot that hit the underside of the crossbar, and rifled past keeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Following a series of excellent performances, Locatelli received and accepted the offer to extend his contract until 30 June 2020, with the rise in pay.
Locatelli began the season as a starter in the second leg of Milan's Europa League qualification match against CS U Craiova, playing a vital role in Milan's 2–0 win on 3 August 2017. However, Montolivo's eventual recovery combined with the arrival of Lucas Biglia and frequent changes of formation under Vincenzo Montella started to limit his playing time. In November 2017, Montella was dismissed and replaced by Gennaro Gattuso who also viewed Locatelli as more of a backup for either Biglia or Montolivo than a starting lineup player. He finished the season with only 15 starts (of which only 5 were in Serie A) and 18 sub-ins.
In the summer of 2018, Milan loaned in Tiémoué Bakayoko and suggested that Locatelli joins one of the lower-ranking Serie A teams on loan, preferably without a buy-out option. Locatelli agreed to depart yet submitted a full transfer request, later citing a perceived lack of trust in him from the club as the main reason for his decision. On 13 August 2018, Locatelli transferred to Sassuolo on loan with an obligation to buy. In his debut season for the neroverdi he made 31 appearances and scored 3 goals (against Catania in Coppa Italia and Cagliari and Chievo Verona in Serie A).
With the Italy U-17 team he took part at the 2015 UEFA European Under-17 Championship. With the Italy U-19 squad he took part in the 2016 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, as Italy finished runners-up.
He made his debut with the Italy U21 team on 23 March 2017, in a friendly match won 2–1 against Poland. In June 2017, he was included in the Italy under-21 squad for the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship by manager Luigi Di Biagio. Italy were eliminated by Spain in the semi-finals on 27 June, following a 3–1 defeat.
Style of play
Locatelli is primarily a deep-lying playmaker operating in front of the team's defense, in a role similar to that of Andrea Pirlo. Although not his preferred position, he can also play in 4–3–3 formation as a wing-leaning central midfielder, alternatively known as mezzala. He possesses good vision, passing, ball control, dribbling, as well as a powerful and accurate shot from long range. His reading of the game and ball-winning abilities were described as sufficient for a defensive midfielder. Considered a promising young player, in 2015 The Guardian named him one of the 50 best young players in the world who were born in 1998.
- As of match played 5 January 2020
- Appearance in Supercoppa Italiana
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- Simone Gambino (2 October 2016). "Manuel Locatelli: il regista del Milan del futuro, sulle orme di Donnarumma" (in Italian). Goal.com. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
- "Milan, Mihajlovic promuove il 17enne Locatelli: esordio in vista?". Retrieved 2016-07-26.
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- "Sampdoria 0-1 AC Milan: Carlos Bacca scores winner for visitors". Sky Sport. 16 September 2016.
- Paul, Sumeet (12 October 2016). "With Montolivo injured, is it time for Milan to start Locatelli?". ESPN FC.
- Rathborn, Jack (22 October 2016). "AC Milan wonderkid Manuel Locatelli scores screamer to down Juventus A winner GOAL from Locatelli". Mirror.
- "Calendario e Risultati | Stagione 2016-17 | Quarti" (in Italian). Lega Serie A. 25 January 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
- "Player Ratings: Milan 2-0 Craiova". Football Italia. 3 August 2017.
- "Official statement: Manuel Locatelli". acmilan.com. Associazione Calcio Milan. 13 August 2018. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
- "Finale Europeo Under 19, Francia-Italia 4-0: Augustin, Blas, Tousart e Diop". Retrieved 2016-07-26.
- "U21: Italy squad for Euros named". Football Italia. 6 June 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
- James Horncastle (28 June 2017). "Italy fall to familiar foe Spain at U21 Euros but there is hope for the future". ESPN FC. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
- "Next Generation 2015: 50 of the best young talents in world football". The Guardian. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
- "Giocatore - MANUEL LOCATELLI" (in Italian). Lega Serie A. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
- "Italy - M. Locatelli - Profile with news, career statistics and history - Soccerway". soccerway.com. Retrieved 2016-04-22.