Italy is historically one of football’s superpower nations and judging by the quality of their youngsters on FIFA 17, the Azzurri should continue to prosper for years to come.
The current generation of Italian footballers is regarded as one of the weakest in decades, yet they beat the heavily-fancied Belgium and Spain at Euro 2016 before bowing out to Germany on penalties in the knockout stage.
Rarely has an Italian side been written off as much as they were ahead of last year’s European Championships but given the talent coming through the nation’s youth academies, the Azzurri should reassume their tag as potential tournament winners in years to come.
A couple of Italian youngsters are already being tipped for greatness – most notably Milan’s incredible 17-year-old shot-stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma – but here are six other exceedingly talented prospects.
Make sure you sign these guys before anyone else does on your FIFA 17 career save…
Current ability: 73
Potential ability: 85
As Donnarumma earns virtually all the limelight at the San Siro, AC Milan’s ‘other’ big prospect Manuel Locatelli has benefitted from almost no pressure being placed on his shoulders.
Impressive performances in the first team mean he is now a regular starter in Milan’s central midfield and at just 19 years old, Locatelli will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi for the Azzurri.
Still new on the scene, FIFA 17 are yet to fully acknowledge Locatelli’s potential and he is still only permitted a potential of 85. A particularly fine passer, the Italy U19 captain is an affordable option to bolster the middle of your midfield.
Current ability: 72
Potential ability: 84
As expected when you’re a part of Juventus’ squad, Mattiello was loaned out to Chievo Verona in 2015-16, but his loan was cut short by a leg break in a collision with Roma’s Radja Nainggolan.
Plying his trade at left back, Mattiello’s career to date has been a nightmare. He has been an unused substitute just twice this season but clearly, EA Sports still sees something in him.
Rated originally as 72, Mattiello can grow 12 and is able to play at both LB and RB. A complete all-rounder Mattiello can use both feet, is a sound tackler, nippy and able to put a good cross in.
Current ability: 77
Potential ability: 86
Sassuolo’s central midfielder is originally an AS Roma youth product. Since leaving, he has gone on to become one of Italy’s finest young prospects.
Now linked heavily with a move away from Sassuolo, naturally, there are suggestions he could be heading back to Rome. Lorenzo Pellegrini is a constant goal threat and lays on plenty of assists. As central midfielders should be, Pellegrini is competent in almost all aspects of the game.
His tackling stats are good but he particularly shines in passing, long range shooting and is surprisingly quick for someone standing at 6’1”. As he is already rated at 77, the 20-year-old does not come cheap and his base price is already at €10.5m.
Current ability: 66
Potential ability: 82
Federico Chiesa shot to prominence in December last year when he scored his first goal for Fiorentina against Qarabag in the Europa League, before being sent off less than ten minutes later.
The son of Enrico Chiesa – a prolific striker who played for the iconic Parma team in the late 90s, as well as Fiorentina – Federico is making a name for himself having become a regular member of La Viola’s starting XI this term.
Able to play on either flank or up front, Chiesa’s statistics on FIFA 17 don’t particularly correlate with his real life promise but if handed regular first-team minutes he could become a very useful player to have in your squad.
He is quick and has good shot power ratings but needs to improve his finishing to really reach his maximum potential.
Current ability: 75
Potential ability: 83
For a 22-year-old, Cataldi has accumulated valuable experience already. Having broken into the first team for his home club, Lazio, the defensive minded midfielder has seen first-team opportunities decline.
Knowing he may well be a future star, Lazio just this month loaned him out to Serie A club Genoa and he has slotted straight into their midfield.
Like many of his Italian counterparts, Cataldi is able in most parts of the game. His ability to grow as a finisher, tackler or passer makes him a really fascinating player to develop.
Once FIFA’s January update comes around, the Italian U21 will be unavailable to sign on Career Mode until the summer.
Current ability: 74
Potential ability: 83
What would a list of potential Italian superstars be without an old fashioned centre-back? That void is filled by Juventus-owned Mattia Caldara who is currently at what was his youth academy club, Atalanta.
Over his four years at the club, Caldara did enough to show the ‘Old Lady’ that one day he will be capable of filling in for the likes of Italian reliables Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini.
As is important at this stage, the 22-year-old is playing 90 minutes regularly and learning his trade. Rated in the high 70s already for tackling, interceptions and heading accuracy, there is the opportunity to develop Caldara into a formidable, prototypical Italian centre half.