Matteo Gabbia: the story of a true Milanista

Against Torino, Matteo Gabbia made his Serie A debut with AC Milan. A dream of a true Milanista.

I can’t get any shut-eye, I’ve done it, I’ve made my AC Milan Serie A debut. I still can’t believe it. It’s just one game but my dream has come true. It’s time rest, tomorrow is another day.” 

A 6-year-old kid wearing his AC Milan jersey, watching the great Rossoneri. Matteo Gabbia and his grandpa, hand-in-hand, heading to San Siro, in their usual seat, to watch Ancelotti’s legendary men: Nesta, Maldini, Kaka, Inzaghi, Shevchenko…

Years latter, from the stands, holding their season ticket, the Gabbia family are there to see Matteo make his Serie A debut. A dream that goes back a long time, a dream that he revealed in his presentation press conference at Lucchese: “I’ve always dreamt for the AC Milan first team and I hope, one day, I’ll be back“.

It’s the 42nd minute, Kjaer picks up an injury and is forced off. “Your moment has come, you’re coming on! – I’ll be ready in a blink, boss“. Jacket off, tracksuit off. Left shin guard, check! Right shin guard, ready, almost! A few steps more and Mr Sacchi says “Go!”. Mr Sacchi, the fourth official, who only happens to share the same surname as the great Arrigo.

At this very moment, Matteo Gabbia was making his Serie A debut fully focused and concentrated on doing his job. The look in Marco Brescianini’s eyes says it all. The dream of taking that first step, with the first team. The first step has been made, it’s a great chance playing alongside Romagnoli, wearing the number 46 to honor his grandma, Adriana. 

What an emotional moment, I was so excited I could’t watch the game till the end. I always hoped he could make it, and he awes it to his parents, we are a very close-knit family“, says grandma Adriana. 

Climbing through the ranks of the youth sector doesn’t mean you’ve made it, yet. Nothing can be obtained without effort and the road to happiness is still long. But, Matteo is smart, humble, a hard-worker, the traits of a real young man, important traits to get you there. Keep your mind on the game, always. Aim high, look at the future but remember the past: football in the afternoon, studying at night. Countless teammates, lots of friends, not many nights out: “I have an early wake up tomorrow, it’s matchday“.

Six-year-old Matteo moved his first football steps at Fagnano Calcio, near Varese, the to Roncalli, Como and Lecco before making it to Milan at the age of 14. Football was a passion passed down by his father, who though never made it past amateur levels. Just a few years back, a fellow Rossonero, born just a few kilometers from Varese, made his AC Milan debut: the legendary Alessandro Costacurta.

Matteo starts at midfielder, but his great timing, vision of play and reading the game ability made him a perfect centre back for AC Milan U-17 side. Defensive midfielder or midfielder made no difference for Matteo Gabbia playing in this position with both the U-15 and U-17 national sides, despite playing centre back at AC Milan.

The young, talented Matteo was moving through the Italy and Milan youth ranks and made his Europa League coming on for Locatelli as holding midfielder against Shkendija. He then went on loan at Lucchese, recording 30 appearances and scoring one goal, before starring in the U-2o World Cup in Poland, which ended with the third place play-off.

His recent experiences saw him feature in a 3-man defence before making a name for himself during the summer tour in USA with Gabbia in the starting XI against Bayern Munich, impressing everyone to find a spot in the 2019/2020 squad. His Coppa Italia debut against Spal once again in place of Kjaer was his first taste of San Siro. Coming on with number 46. Once again, this is just a first step.

Now back to bed Matteo, you can rest now. When you wake up you’ll be ready for another game, for a full 90 minutes wearing the colors you love. Football has always been his greatest passion…”, says grandma, Adriana.

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