Now that we live in the era of the 24 hour news cycle and we are all constantly bombarded by updates, it's become easy to forget even the recent past. Milan's rollercoaster of a season featuring a coaching change, rumors of the sale of the club and the presence of Super Mario has made Stephan El Shaarawy into almost an afterthought. Knowing his personality he probably likes it this way, especially since he is trying to comeback from a series of injuries. But when you hear fans debate which strikers Prandelli should take this summer to Brazil, you hardly ever hear El Shaarawy being mentioned- and that is shame considering what the Pharaoh could bring to Italy's national team in the World Cup.
In the fall of 2012 El Shaarawy was a one man show for a Milan team that really struggled. While it's hard to say who is the best player in the league, it's easier to identify who is the most valuable to his team. It's hard to imagine a player meaning more to his team than El Shaarawy to Milan in the first half of the 2012/13 season- it felt like Milan was employing the "Egypt formation" back then- a Pharaoh upfront and 10 mummies behind him. Since then El Shaarawy has been in the headlines for different reasons- first there were the questions if he could co exist with Balotelli, then trade rumors (he turned down a rich offer from Russia last summer) and finally the never ending string of injuries and visits to doctor Van Dijk in Amsterdam.
It now finally appears that El Shaaraway is ready to turn the corner. He has been practicing with both Milan's Primavera and the rossoneri's first team this week and there is a chance he will be selected for the Primanvera's match against Padova. It would be quite emotional for El Shaarawy to make his return to the pitch against Padova, the club in which he established himself. Padova is also the city that I grew up in, I remember following Del Piero as he was coming up in their youth system- he was on the verge of joining Milan before Boniperti swooped in and brought him to Juve. More than any player El Shaaraway reminds me of a young Del Piero, the one we first saw during Lippi's first tenure at Juve- fast, willing to sacrifice for the team and with a wicked shot. That is the El Shaarawy I hope to see again very soon- forza Faraone ti stiamo aspettando.
Staff- David Amoyal