In 2012, AC Milan paid AC Reggiana around half a million euros for a player, who couldn’t even sign a professional contract. At 14, Hachim Mastour became football’s most talked about teenagers. Shortly after, he was acquired by Milan, the highlights of his youth games surfaced on the web, showcasing his unrivalled skill, flair and eccentricity.
Mastour was born on 15 June, 1998 to Moroccan parents in Reggio Emilia, Italy. He began playing at his hometown club AC Reggiana. He scored five goals in the Ielasi Memorial tournament, including one in the final against A.S. Roma. After the tournament he was approached by Juventus, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City. Mastour was touted as the future of Italian football by the media.
His reputation continued to grow in his first season at Milan. He began to feature for Italy’s U16 squad, and was featured in a Red Bull video where he demonstrated his freestyle ability against Neymar. His incredible agility and ball control had made him the most promising young footballer in the world. Hachim Mastour was a certified wonderkid, with a skillset way beyond his years.
By the end of the 2013-14 season, then Milan’s manager, Clarence Seedorf, gained special permission from Serie A in order to include the 15-year-old on the bench for their final game of the season. Despite not making it on the pitch, Mastour was the youngest ever player to make the Milan bench, and the hype around him was higher than ever. He represented Italy U-16 in various tournaments, he made his international debut on 18 August 2013, against Qatar.
The following season, the teenager made very little progression under new manager Filippo Inzaghi at Milan. This was the time when the youngster made a switch of international allegiance. Eligible to play for both the Italy national team and the Morocco national team, he announced on 19 May 2015 that he was persuaded to represent the latter, because he felt Morocco to be his country. He was offered the opportunity to have his international debut immediately on 12 June 2015, thus becoming the youngest ever Moroccan international.
After two frustrating years at the Rossoneri, on 31 August 2015, the attacking midfielder was loaned out on a 2 year deal with an option to buy to La Liga outfit Malaga. The move turned out to be a disastrous one though, as Mastour played just 5 minutes of football for the Spanish side before they cancelled the loan deal after his first season.
After his return to Milan, Mastour was again sent loan at the start of the following season, this time with PES Zwolle in the Eredivisie. He made his Eredivisie debut on 13 August, replacing fellow Moroccan Youness Mokhtar for the final 17 minutes of a 0–3 home loss to Sparta Rotterdam. Mastour played just 150 minutes of football in the entire season. After he failed to make an impact in his time at Netherlands, Milan released him. He even failed to add to his solitary international cap since his debut in 2015.
He spent the 2017-18 season as a free agent. On 4 September 2018, Greek Superleague club PAS Lamia officially announced the signing of Mastour. He only appeared in 4 matches in the entire league campaign. Mastour has till now failed to live up to his early career hype. He is no doubt one of the most skilful young players in the world, he guarantees to excite almost every time he gets the ball, with his vast array of tricks.However, the rest of his game had failed to develop at the same rate, limiting his overall game massively.
Still just 20 years old, Mastour is by no means ‘finished’ and still has plenty of time to turn his career around. However, his performance shows otherwise, a player once considered a world beater is finding it difficult to get game time at Greek Superleague which will surely not aid his fading career.