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5 GIFs to understand the talent of Ismaël Bennacer

The Empoli's Algerian midfielder was the African Cup of Nations' MVP and now is ready for AC Milan

5 GIFs to understand the talent of Ismaël Bennacer The Empoli's Algerian midfielder was the African Cup of Nations' MVP and now is ready for AC Milan

Dominating in midfield is not easy, especially if you are not as huge as the various Pogba and Milinkovic-Savic. Courage and physical strength are needed, but also technique and tonnage. This last feature is missing from Ismaël Bennacer, who does not exceed one meter and seventy-five in height. This, however, did not prevent him from establishing himself in the last Serie A season as one of the most beautiful discoveries in the league. And now, as if that were not enough to describe his talent, he was also named the best player in the African Cup, a tournament won by his Algeria.

Born in 1997, a central midfielder with a multi-license for the entire field: Bennacer started from far away, precisely from Arles-Avignon, and now he is one step away from wearing the Rossoneri shirt. His path was linear, with an impromptu peak in 2015, when Arsenal decided to focus on him without really believing it. The loan to Tours, then the Empoli and the explosion in Italy in Serie B first, then in Serie A.

Milan have thus scored the second blow from Empoli (after Krunic), taking for € 16 million a player who remembers Torreira, another objective of the Rossoneri market, considered too expensive. Giampaolo, however, can console himself with Bennacer, which contains all the perfect features for the former Sampdoria coach: technical, leathery, reliable, with a good vision of the game and with the ability to dialogue across the board with his teammates. Qualifications that are highlighted in the following GIFs, useful for understanding Ismael Bennacer's talent:


#1 Defense and ruleta

The standard median is limited to closing on the advancing opponent player, interrupting the action and then easily supporting the ball to a partner. Bennacer, however, is not a standard median, so after recovering the ball he also makes a ruleta and jumps who is placed between him and the restart.



#2 Protection and filtering pass

Here we can see Bennacer do a couple of the (many) things that are good for him: first he protects the ball by always throwing himself forward and guiding it with mastery, then in an instant he sees a crack in front of him and decides to risk a filtering pass as difficult as enlightening.



#3 Stop and go

Bennacer is able to stay calm and masterfully manage the pressure on the neck of a player who catapults him in the back. The Algerian stops the ball and with a feint of body jokes his pursuer, who is forced to restrain his run; the Empoli midfielder, meanwhile, has already turned and has launched himself towards the opponent's half.



#4 Precision

One of the qualities that make a central midfielder great is the ability to serve his companions in different ways. Among these, surely there is also the long launch, a practice with which Bennacer seems to be quite at ease. Here we see him raise his head and offer Caputo a perfect assist: right times, right strength, absolute precision. All this in a tangle of jerseys that would have put many finishers in difficulty, but not Bennacer.



#5 Personality, strength and technique

Imagine a 21-year-old boy in the African Cup final. Imagine the pressure, the responsability, the emotion. Bennacer must have heard all this, on July 19, when he took the field against Senegal. Yet he didn't seem afraid in the field. On the contrary: he threw himself headlong into the fray, leaving the winner at the end.

This is one of the actions that best sums up the essence of the Algerian midfielder: Bennacer tries a long and complicated first pass that is intercepted, but he doesn't give up; he decides to throw himself like a human bullet against someone who has dared to take the ball, he takes it back, he defends it and then he opens with a delicious left outside for one of his companions who probably only saw him, who knows with which eye.




#6 Scoring attitude

How to judge the feeling between the Algerian and the opponent's goal? Last season with Empoli he never managed to score (in the unlucky away game against Roma his shot hit the crossing bar), also because his range of action is often very backward and his dangerousness is very minimum. But this does not mean that he does not know how to hurt: in the semifinals against Nigeria, a few days ago, he risked breaking the opponent goal with a left-handed missile just before Mahrez scored the winning goal, in the extra-time: a clear sign that he sees the target very well.