Hachim Mastour
Mastour with Milan in 2014
Personal information
Date of birth (1998-06-15) 15 June 1998 (age 23)
Place of birth Reggio Emilia, Italy
Height 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)[1]
Position(s) Attacking midfielder
Youth career
2008–2012 Reggiana
2012–2014 Milan
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2014–2018 Milan 0 (0)
2015–2016Málaga (loan) 1 (0)
2016–2017PEC Zwolle (loan) 5 (0)
2018–2019 Lamia 4 (0)
2019–2021 Reggina 10 (0)
2021Carpi (loan) 10 (1)
National team
2015 Morocco 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 2 May 2021
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 27 April 2017

Hachim Mastour (Arabic: هاشم مستور‎; born 15 June 1998) is a Moroccan professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder or second striker.

He began his career at Reggiana, and signed for Milan for €500,000 at the age of 14. In 2015 he was loaned for two years to Málaga, making only one substitute appearance before the deal was terminated a year early. He was then lent to PEC Zwolle, before signing for Greek side Lamia on a permanent deal. In 2019 Mastour returned to Italy, signing for Serie C side Reggina.

Mastour was born in Italy and represented the nation at under-16 level. He then switched allegiance to his ancestral Morocco, making his senior debut in June 2015 as their youngest ever player.

Club career

Youth career

Mastour was born to Moroccan parents in Reggio Emilia, Italy. He began playing at his hometown club AC Reggiana, and in early 2012, at the age of 13, he featured for Inter Milan in youth tournaments despite rules prohibiting him from leaving Reggiana until his next birthday. In January of that year, he scored five goals in the Ielasi Memorial tournament, including one in the final against A.S. Roma. After approaches from Juventus, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City, Mastour moved to Inter's city rivals A.C. Milan on the recommendation of former manager Arrigo Sacchi, for a fee of €500,000.[2][3] Shortly after signing, he gave an interview with Sky Italia in which he dribbled and performed kick-ups with a cherry.[3] He is a Muslim.[4]

Milan

He was promoted into Milan's first team by manager Clarence Seedorf for the final match of the 2013–14 Serie A season and would have become the youngest Milan player to feature in the league,[5] but did not come off the bench in the 2–1 win over Sassuolo at the San Siro on 18 May.[6]

Loan to Malaga

On 31 August 2015, Mastour was loaned to Spain's Málaga CF for two seasons, at the exclusive request of club owner Abdullah al-Thani;[7] as a minor his transfer to another country had to be approved by FIFA, which was not completed until 5 November.[8] He was first included in a matchday squad for the La Liga home fixture against fellow Andalusians Real Betis two days later,[9] making his competitive club debut in the eventual 0–1 loss by playing five minutes as a substitute for compatriot Adnane Tighadouini.[10] On 7 July 2016, after making one appearance all season, Málaga opted to rescind Mastour's loan contract, and he returned to Milan.[11]

Loan to Zwolle

On 14 July 2016, Mastour joined Dutch club PEC Zwolle on a season-long loan.[12] He made his Eredivisie debut on 13 August, replacing fellow Moroccan Youness Mokhtar for the final 17 minutes of a 0–3 home loss to Sparta Rotterdam.[13]

Despite initial reports suggesting his contract was expired, Mastour actually returned to Milan at the end of the loan spell, having one year left in his contract.[14]

Lamia

On 4 September 2018, Greek Superleague club Lamia officially announced the signing of Mastour on a free transfer, on a contract worth €200,000 per year.[15] He was reported absent in December, and the following February his father confirmed that this was due to injury that he alleged was not being treated by the club.[16] Following six goalless appearances in seven months, his deal was terminated by mutual consent on 4 March 2019.[17] The following month, he trained with Parma.[18]

Reggina and loan to Carpi

Mastour signed a three-year contract with Serie C side Reggina on 18 October 2019.[19] He made his debut on 22 January 2020, as an 81st-minute substitute in a 2–1 home loss to Virtus Francavilla.[20]

On 14 January 2021, after playing the first half of the campaign with Reggina, he was loaned out to Serie C club Carpi until the end of the season.[21] On 24 January, he scored his first professional goal in a 5–1 defeat against Sambenedettese.[22]

International career

Mastour was capped seven times and scored once for Italy under-16s.[23] He made his international debut on 18 August 2013, playing the first half of a 3–0 friendly victory over Qatar in Borgo Valsugana,[24] and scored a late equaliser in a 2–1 win over Croatia in Umag on 11 March the following year.[25]

Eligible to play for both the Italy national team and the Morocco national team, he announced on 19 May 2015 that he was persuaded to represent the latter, because he felt Morocco to be his country. He was offered the opportunity to have his international debut immediately, while he still had to prove himself to earn a spot for the Italy senior team.[26]

On 12 June 2015, he made his international debut for Morocco in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification Group F match against Libya at the Stade Adrar in Agadir, replacing Nordin Amrabat for the final two minutes of the 1–0 victory.

Style of play

Described as a "fantasista" in Italian,[27] Mastour is a versatile, quick, agile, creative, and highly skilful player, with excellent technique and an ability to read the game; although his favoured role is as an attacking midfielder, he is capable of playing in several attacking roles, and has been deployed as a second striker, or even as a winger. Although naturally right-footed, he is strong with either foot.[28][29][30][31][32]

Mastour claimed at age 14 that his main abilities were his ball control and dribbling.[3] In 2015, Fabio Balaudo of UEFA.com added: "Excellent dribbling skills and sublime technique have made him almost impossible to mark for players in his age group. With great control at speed, a good shot with both feet and the ability to change pace, he is expected to shine behind the forwards or as a winger."[28] A former coach likened Mastour to former Inter midfielder Wesley Sneijder for his ability to orchestrate play from behind the forward line, but his ability in making the ball disappear with his tricks earned him comparisons with Ronaldinho and Neymar as well.[3][28] Several pundits, including Ivano Pasqualino, have also highlighted Mastour's ball-juggling skills and prowess at free-style football as some of his key strengths and characteristics as a player.[27][33][34] In 2014, Omar Danesi, the coach of Milan's under-17 team, praised Mastour's speed and ability to retain the ball from defenders. He predicted a first-team breakthrough, while assuring that Mastour should be given sufficient time to improve beforehand.[5] A.C. Milan youth director, Filippo Galli, said that "nobody at Milan has any doubts about Hachim's ability".[28]

Considered to be a highly promising prospect in his youth,[27][34][35] in 2015, The Guardian named him as one of the 50 best young players in the world born in 1998.[36] Despite his talent, however, he has since struggled to establish himself at the professional level and consistently achieve first team football;[18][37][38][39] as such, several pundits have questioned whether he is capable of handling the pressure needed to fulfil his potential.[32] Moreover, Paul Grech felt in 2018 that Mastour lacked the physical strength to succeed at the highest level,[29] given his relatively modest height of 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m).[28] Regarding his limitations as a player, his former Zwolle manager Ron Jans said of him: "He can do wonderful things with a ball but he must start adding more depth to his game."[32][29] Regarding Mastour's situation, his former Milan manager, Gennaro Gattuso, commented on the issue in 2018, stating: "We’ve talked a lot lately. I even threatened him because he became more famous for making videos than playing, but he doesn’t do that anymore because I told him I’d knock his teeth out! In recent months he’s improved some things in training and we decided to let him play in the Primavera. The train has passed but he’s not 50-years-old, he’s 20-years-old [in June] and I think he has to take stock of his mistakes. He needs to play consistently, because we can see he’s lost some match sharpness. I’ve noticed a few improvements though."[38]

Career statistics

Club

As of 7 March 2021[40]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Málaga (loan) La Liga 2015–16 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
PEC Zwolle (loan) Eredivisie 2016–17 5 0 1 0 0 0 6 0
Milan Serie A 2017–18 0 0 0 0 0 0
Lamia Super League 2018–19 4 0 2 0 6 0
Reggina Serie C 2019–20 1 0 0 0 1 0
Serie B 2020–21 9 0 2 0 11 0
Total 10 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 12 0
Carpi (loan) Serie C 2021 10 1 0 0 10 1
Career total 30 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 35 1

International

As of 12 June 2015[41]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Morocco 2015 1 0
Total 1 0

References

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