Milan U23: The Future of Milan

After much speculation, the official announcement of Milan's new U23 team, Milan Futuro, was made this past week. The FIGC confirmed the acceptance of Milan's application to play in Serie C, and then it was determined that Milan will play in Group B next year in central Italy. All the details continue to be released, but this is an excellent step forward for Milan. Having these young U23 teams, or B teams as they are also called, helps to connect the gap in player development between the Primavera and first teams. Milan Futuro players will train with and potentially also make appearances with the first team, keeping important young players within the club and allowing them to continue to help build the future of Milan.

Some of Milan's rising stars can stay at Milan and still feature in the first team.

Zlatan Ibrahimović has been putting a lot of time and effort into making this happen, having hired Jovan Kirovski as the U23 Sporting Director, the former LA Galaxy director who hired Ibrahimović during his time in Los Angeles. The manager of the Milan Futuro team will be the legendary Daniele Bonera, coming off of five years as an assistant manager of Milan's first team. They will train at Milanello with new first team manager Paulo Fonseca's team, essentially becoming a group of 50 players. There will be collaboration at every level from the top down through the U23 team, and the Primavera side as well. 

Milan are investing a total of €12 million in the U23 project. For the stadium alone, they are spending between €700.000 to €1 million to renovate the Felice Chinetti stadium in Solbiate Arno, which is approximately three kilometers away from Milanello. This is where Milan Futuro will play their official matches, although the first few matches may be played in Busto Arsizio while the work in Solbiate Arno is completed. The first matches are scheduled for August 11th and 18th, which are the first preliminary rounds of the Coppa Italia Serie C, then the season kicks off on August 25th. For those who are interested in viewing matches, Sky Italia and Rai are reported to have the television rights for Serie C.

Work is in progress on the Felice Chinetti stadium in Solbate Arno, where Milan Futuro will play.

The Rules for U23 Teams

There are specific guidelines set by the FIGC for a U23 team competing in Serie C:

• The U23 team roster can contain up to 26 players. 

• Of these players, only four may be older than 22 years old (born before Jan 1, 2002.)

• Only seven players may have been registered with non-FIGC (foreign) clubs within the past seven years. All other players must have played for an FIGC (Italian) team for at least the past seven seasons.

• The 25 players registered as Serie A players may not play for the U23 team.

• Players who have made 50 or more Serie A appearances may not play for the U23 team.

All other U23 players are eligible to play for either the Serie A or U23 teams.

Milan invested €5m to sign Álex Jiménez, he will be able to play for U23 and first teams.

• To be eligible to play in Serie C Playoff or Play-out matches, players must have:
    a) reached 25 appearances with the U23 team during the season (or 12 appearances if only registered from January 1, 2025.)
    b) if they have not reached the minimum appearances, but have not played in Serie A during the season, they are still eligible.

Any violation of any of these rules will result in an automatic 3-0 loss. 

(Fun fact: When Fonseca was at Roma, he once made one too many substitutions, and also fielded an ineligible player. So it will be important for everyone else to keep track of these rules.)

It is also of note that U23 teams can be promoted, but cannot play in the same division as their club's senior team. U23 teams can also be relegated to lower divisions.

Zeroli is expected to captain, and Raveyre is expected to play in goal.

Who Will Play for Milan Futuro?

As of this writing, there are 20 players reportedly assigned to the U23 squad. These are players who have been promoted from the Primavera or are returning from loans. Though not officially confirmed by the club, these are thought to be:

• Noah Reveyre (2005, France), renewed through 2028
• Lorenzo Torriani (2005), contract through 2027

Andrei Coubiş is reported to be joining Milan Futuro.

• Davide Bartesaghi (2025), renewed through 2026, has made 6 appearances in Serie A
• Andrei Coubiş (2003), contract through 2027
• Andrea Bozzolan (2004), contract through 2027
• Tommaso Cecotti (2005)
• Lorenzo D'Alessio (2004)
• Fredrik Nissen (2005, Sweden), renewed through 2026
• Jan-Carlo Simić (2005), contract through 2025, has made 4 appearances in Serie A


• Victor Eletu (2005, Nigeria), contract through 2025
• Antonio Gala (2004), contract through 2026
• Mattia Malaspina (2005), renewed through 2026
• Dariusz Stalmach (2005, Poland)
, contract through 2025
• Kevin Zeroli (2005), renewed through 2028, has made 3 appearances in Serie A

Chaka Traorè, who scored at San Siro on his full debut, is returning to join Milan Futuro

• Gabriele Alesi (2004),
• Francesco Camarda (2008), (agreed to renewal through 2027
has made 2 appearances in Serie A
• Hugo Cuenca (2005, Paraguay)
, contract through 2025 
• Bob Murphy Omoregbe (2003)
• Emil Roback (2003, Sweden)
 contract through 2025 
• Chaka Traorè (2004) renewed through 2028, has made 2 appearances in Serie A

We also know they have begun to sign the other players who will make up the Milan Futuro side. There are reports that 27 year-old Mbarick Fall has taken his medicals and will join from Serie C side Giana Erminio. There are also reports of other players who may join the team, including the name of Alessandro Plizzari, former Milan youth goalkeeper, who was sold to the now Serie B side Pescara two years ago.

The talented Victor Eletu suffered a knee injury in March, but will be anxious to return for Milan U23.

Which Teams will Milan Futuro Face?

The list of Group B teams in Serie C has some familiar names. A few teams who have previously played in Serie A, and one that stands out for another reason. Former Milan Primavera manager Ignazio Abate recently left Milan to take a job as head manager of Serie C side Ternana, who play in... you guessed it, Group B. So he and his former U16, then Primavera boys will be facing one another. Here is a complete list of the teams in Serie C Group B:

    • Arezzo
    • Ascoli
     Legnago Salus
     Milan Futuro
     Sestri Levante
     Virtus Entella
     Vis Pesaro

Map of the teams in Group B this season.

Additionally, the draw included the other two U23 teams as well. Atalanta will be competing in Group A once again this season, while Juventus will be competing in Group C, the more southern region. Juventus have had their NextGen team, originally called Juventus U23 since 2018while Atalanta U23 began competing just last season. It is hoped that these teams will help to improve the gap between the Primavera and Serie A levels in Italy not only in experience, but also in technique and physicality.

Polish midfielder Dariusz Stalmach is reportedly going to continue into Milan's future.

Building Players for the Future

Milan have been working to prepare more players from their youth sector to be able to transition into the first team. Abate was able to effectively instill Milan's DNA into the Primavera team by taking them to the UEFA Youth League Semifinals for the first time ever for an Italian team in 2023. This past season, he took them to the Youth League Final, which was also the first time a Milan or even Italian team had reached the final. Last season,Francesco Camarda was awarded the "Revelation of the Year" award, and Jan-Carlo Simić and Kevin Zeroli were both recognized as two of the Best Primavera Players, as well, just more acknowledgement of the great work being done to recruit and develop young players.

But that was not all, when injuries struck the first team this past year, there were several players from Abate's Army who were prepared to step up and play with the senior side. Most notably, this included the debut of the youngest ever Milan or even Serie A player in the league, Francesco Camarda. Or the dream debut of Jan-Carlo Simić, who scored a goal at the San Siro in his very first senior appearance. And there were also several players who made appearances when they traveled with the team to the U.S. last summer, and also to Australia in May.

Bonera is already familiar with the first team and Primavera players, now he'll be the link between the two.

After Abate's exit, there was concern as to what would happen with the Primavera team, but those fears were alleviated with the announcement yesterday of the arrival of Federico Guidi. After having won trophies with youth teams at both Fiorentina and Roma, Guidi is committed to Milan's project of helping develop more young players to play successfuly at the senior level. He will now be working alongside Bonera and Fonseca to create a healthy and collaborative environment for Milan's young players to grow and hopefully become our future first team players.

Milan are not the only ones who need this. Italian football needs U23 teams, too. Contrast Italy's shambolic performance at Euro 2024 with the success of Italy's U17 side, who just won the U17 Euro tournament. Four of the starters in that team were Milan players, including Camarda, who was the Player of the Tournament, having scored two goals in the final. He will not be joining his Milan Futuro teammates on Monday for Raduno, though, because he has also been called up to play for Italy's U19 team in the U19 Euro tournament, along with Zeroli, Bartesaghi, and Primavera player Diego Sia. Milan have plenty of Italian talent coming through our youth system.

Some of these players have already trained, traveled, and played with the first team.

Normally, after playing for the Primavera side, players like these would be sent on loan to Serie B or Serie C sides, where they might sit on the bench behind older, more experienced players, and Milan would have no control over their development. Then they may or may not ever return to the first team, depending on that development. This has been a problem for Italy as a whole, which has lacked this crucial element, while all the other major European leagues have reserve teams. Reijnders is a perfect example, he played almost exclusively for the reserve team at AZ Alkmaar until the season before coming to Milan, when he had his breakout season for their senior team. Both Milan and the Netherlands are reaping the benefits of the Dutch reserve team system.

Now, Milan Futuro gives our players the chance to train and possibly even play with the first team, while also playing regularly in Serie C. Milan will be able to monitor their growth and development, and Fonseca will collaborate closely with Bonera and be able to call upon them if needed. If, at the end of their time at Milan Futuro, they do not make the first team, they can still be loaned out or sold for capital gains to teams. But with more senior experience, they will likely bring in more profits for the team, and will have better prospects for their own careers. Either way, both the players and the club benefit from investing in our young players and helping them develop to reach that next level. We are more likely to hang onto our best young players, and they will become the future of Milan.

This post was inspired by the music of Måneskin's "Chosen"

Milan and Milan Futuro teams return to Milanello 
on Monday, July 8
Paulo Fonseca will also hold his first Press Conference

Milan U23: The Future of Milan Milan U23: The Future of Milan Reviewed by Elaine on 5:00 AM Rating: 5
Powered by Blogger.