Things to Know:
Since his breakthrough season, El Shaarawy is considered to be an up-and-coming, potentially world-class player, and one of the most promising and talented young Italian players. A versatile and hard-working forward, he primarily plays as a left winger, a position which allows him to cut into the centre onto his stronger right foot and either attempt a shot at goal or create chances for teammates; he can also play as an attacking midfielder, as a second striker, on the right flank, as a centre forward, or even as striker, due to his eye for goal. Eric Steitz has noted that El Shaarawy is mainly known for his pace and agility, as well as his “outstanding dribbling ability and technical skill”. He has also stated that El Shaarawy has often demonstrated his shooting power and goalscoring ability with strikes from outside the box, and has described the player as an “above-average passer”, who “creates space with a solid first-touch”. El Shaarawy’s playing style has drawn comparisons with FIFA World Player of the Year winner Cristiano Ronaldo. El Shaarawy cites former Milan playmaker Kaká as his role model. Milan legend José Altafini compared El Shaarawy to Brazilian international Neymar and five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi: “El Shaarawy reminds me of Neymar and Messi. They have a low center of gravity. They play with the ball glued to their feet. He has already proven that he’s a good player. The important thing is not to bulk him up too much”. In spite of his talent, however, he has often struggled with injuries.