Nicolo Zaniolo – The latest Champions League sensation

Playing in great form, AS Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo has emerged as the future pearl of Italian football.

Nicolo Zaniolo played an excellent game against Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday and scored both goals for AS Roma in the 2-1 victory. He announced himself on the biggest stage, after previously showing great performances in Serie A as well.

Physically strong and technically gifted with both feet, Zaniolo is a modern midfielder who has demonstrated great versatility despite his tender years. He can play as a central midfielder, but Di Francesco has also deployed him behind the forwards, and wide in attack, as against Porto.

He joined Roma last summer, in a deal which was included in Nainggolan’s move to Giuseppe Mezza. Nicolo arrived at the club for an ‘initial fee’ of just €4.5million – an investment that will likely pay for itself.

Zaniolo has had a great 2017/18 season in Primavera, scoring 13 and assisting 8 goals in 26 appearances for the Inter’s youth team.

The attacking midfielder is enjoying a stunning breakout season with the Giallorossi, having already scored three times and provided two assists in 14 Serie A appearances. With his two goals against Porto, now he has 5 goals scored for AS Roma in all competitions.

His first Serie A goal was a spectacular solo effort against Sassuolo back in December, and may be a contender for goal of the season in Italy. That was a moment of his career, the 19-year old Italian will never forget.

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Zaniolo is already breaking records: at 19 years and 7 months, he became the youngest Italian player ever to score at least two goals in a single season of the Champions League. He is also the second youngest player in Roma’s history to score three Serie A goals, behind Totti.

After impressing during the summer’s Under-19 European Championship, Zaniolo was called up by manager Roberto Mancini for the UEFA Nations League matches against Poland and Portugal without ever having made a first team appearance in Serie A.

“Zaniolo? He has demonstrated all his qualities, he has an incredible physical potential and endowed with a technical finesse. He will become a champion,” stated the iconic captain Daniele De Rossi after the game against Porto.

He is being linked with many big European clubs, including Juventus and it is reported that AS Roma has already started working on a new contract for the player, to try and silence the transfer market rumours.