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Grazie Il Faraone


On Friday, out of the blue, social media lit up with reports that Stephan El Shaarawy was going on loan to Monaco. A majority of fans were shocked and outraged, while others slowly came to grips with the fact that he had spent nearly half of his time at Milan injured, so this might be a good move. But it seemed that everyone was surprised, even the player himself. As the move was finalized on Monday, fans figured out how to deal with the move one way or the other. But whether you are over him or still fondly reminiscing, I think it’s important to say thank you for four years in the Milan shirt. Grazie, il Faraone.

Take a bow, El Shaarawy

El Shaarawy came to us via Genoa, where he’d spent his youth career. After a very successful loan to Padova, where he earned the Serie B Player of the Year award, he came to Milan for a fee plus Merkel to reach a total transfer price of €20m. There was something kind of magical about him from the start, and I really don’t think it was the hair.

For me, what El Shaarawy represented from day one was the future of Milan. Only he brought it with him right away. Milan spent a total of €20m on him (cash + Merkel to Genoa,) a huge investment for such a young player. But he proved himself worthy on the pitch with star-worthy performances despite being so young. In fact, in his second season, he became Milan’s youngest ever goalscorer in the Champions League.

Visting the San Siro with a friend, Milan seemed his destiny

His second season was his most prolific as far as goalscoring was concerned. It seems that he would work for a free vacation. Captain Ambrosini issued him a challenge to score seven goals by Christmas, and if he did that then he would pay for El Shaarawy’s vacation. Well, he surpassed the goal, saving Milan’s season that year, and got the vacation And in the meantime dazzled us with amazing play and thrilling goals.

Another reason El Shaarawy is so beloved by fans is his abilities with the ball. Not only does he hold the ball well, he is a fast dribbler and has mad skills. How many times did we watch him weave, twist or turn through his opponents and then take an amazing shot or put in the perfect cross to his teammate? His quick, entertaining, and explosive plays made us all want him to stay forever and be the future of Milan.

Always smiling, through even the toughest times

But his last two years were plagued with injuries, particularly to his foot. Unlike injuries that heal more quickly, he required surgery and a long recovery period to get back on the pitch. And after the first year of sitting out most of the season, he went through it all over again last season and spent most of the year in rehab, too. This was heartbreaking for fans, I can’t even imagine what it was like for him. But he always came back strong, scoring and smiling. He is incredibly mature for such a young player.

A great teammate, a great attitude, and a great talent

Which is why he has now left, too. He knew that it would be good for him and for Milan to go on loan to Monaco. He could use a change of scenery to put the injury curse behind him, and Milan were moving forward with a system that would likely push him to the bench. So when he was faced with the sudden decision to stay or go, he chose wisely for everyone. Monaco reportedly have the right to renewal if he plays more than 15 games, which is also wise on their part, should he re-injure his foot or have any other longterm injuries. It is a move that is wise for everyone.


Still, it is hard not to be a little nostalgic for a player who is so positive and hard working, and so talented. He gave us so many dazzling memories in such a short period of time. He was his own person, but also a team player, and had the character a Milan player should have. So while most of us envisioned him to be the future of Milan, we now have to change our ideas of what that future looks like. But I for one have no regrets, and wish him only the best for his future. Grazie, il Faraone.


This post inspired by the music of The Bangles “Walk Like an Egyptian”


Our next match is a friendly
Lyon vs. Milan
Saturday, July 18