Transfermarkt: Milan the second-least ‘Italian’ team in Serie A – the details

By Euan Burns -

AC Milan have used Italian players for the second-least amount of time in Serie A this season, ahead of only Udinese. 

As reported by Transfermarkt (via Milan News), the Rossoneri are a very mixed side with foreign players enjoying the bulk of the minutes under Stefano Pioli.

Considering Italian players have a reputation historically for staying in their country of origin rather than plying their trade elsewhere, it is a surprise that Milan do not make more use of Italians.

This season, Milan have used Italian players for 15.8% of their Serie A matches, which is only more than Udinese on 12.1%.

There are nine Italian players in Pioli’s senior squad, although much of the usual starting eleven is made up of foreign players. Davide Calabria is the only Italian player who has a certain starting place in Pioli’s team, with the likes of Alessandro Florenzi, Matteo Gabbia, Filippo Terracciano and Tommaso Pobega being rotational options.

Monza are the most Italian team with 69%, whilst Inter sit 11th with 35.7%, helped by players like Alessandro Bastoni, Nicolo Barella, Federico Dimarco and Francesco Acerbi being regular starters.

Milan have an incredibly diverse squad with players coming from France, England, Portugal, Algeria, the Netherlands, the United States of America and many more.

Tags AC Milan


  1. It doesn’t matter if it’s Milan 16% or Inter 36%, fact is that the use of Italian players is still super low because this is the worst generation of Italian football.
    There is a reason why players like Jorginho, Emerson. Toloi and now Retegui are recruited from other countries to play for Italy. They even wanted Soule from Juventus but he chose to play for his own country. You don’t miss 2 world cups back to back for no reason.

    1. Agreed. Also the stupid rule of Growth Decree for only new foreign players certainly didn’t help, it encourage teams to buy new talents/stars from abroad rather than buying Italian, which generally also more expensive.

      With abolishment of growth decree I expect the persentase will increased little by little.

      1. Are we seriously blaming the growth decree for the lack of quality Italian players? You can’t be serious. It’s the other way around. The elimination of the growth decree was an ignorant move by a weakened government stung by local election losses.

        1. “Are we seriously blaming the growth decree for the lack of quality Italian players? You can’t be serious. It’s the other way around.”

          Yes. Failing to see the connection means someone is blind or ignorant. All the young talents get ignored just because the teams were able to get “similar” player from abroad for way less money. And the young Italians had to find worse teams to join. And don’t forget that it’s easier to develop into a better player with better players next to you (ie. playing/training with world-class players vs those at Salernitana or Serie B teams).

          Just look at Milan. Every new player came from other countries if you ignore the couple free transfers whose salary was very minimal.

          1. Less money than zero?

            Because our youth players are basically free. But we p*^s money away on transfers. Over a billion in 10 years.

            Big slow hand clap.

    2. I agree with you Z. We have to admit that Italy don’t have the golden generation of 80’s and 90’s and even 2000’s plus the Serie A has lost its grip in Europe. Italian teams don’t produce enough talents to compete with Spain, France, Germany and even England. The National team are looking for foreign-born players to represent Italy and give them Italian passport

      1. Well, almost all of those foreign born players are indeed Italian, like Jorginho, who qualifies for Italian citizenship because his family is Italian although he was born in Brazil. His last name is Frello; his family came from Lusiana, Veneto. As you may know, Italy recognizes the right of blood, not the right of land for citizenship, so Jorginho is indeed Italian.

        In addition to Jorginho, let’s look at all the Italian players currently in the Azzurra who were born abroad:

        Emerson, same case. Born in Brazil but look at his last name: Palmieri. Family from Cossano near Cosenza, Calabria.

        Rafael Tolói, same case; born in Brazil, family from Treviso, Veneto.

        Mateo Retegui, same case. Born in Argentina but his family is from Canicatti, Sicilia, and Genova, Liguria.

        Luiz Felipe, same case. His last name is Marchi. Family from Treviso, Veneto.

        Vincenzo Grifo, born in Germany, mom from Puglia, dad from Naro, province of Agrigento, Sicilia.

        Roberto Soriano, born in Germany, family from Sperone, province of Avellino, Campania.

        I have no problem whatsoever with these players being born abroad but being Italian. It’s the law. It’s how we grant citizenship. So, what’s the problem?

        Not all are like this; there is the one case of João Pedro who doesn’t have Italian blood; he acquired the citizenship through marriage to his Italian wife; she is from Palermo, Sicilia. But that’s an exception rather than the rule; the overwhelming majority of current foreign born players who defend the Azzurra indeed have Italian blood.

        So it’s not like we’re granting citizenship to these players for no legal reason, just sports reason. They were ALREADY eligible for Italian citizenship, by virtue of their Italian blood (it’s called jus sanguinis and is a principle in our Constitution).

        1. I don’t think anybody really has a problem with recruiting national players from foreign countries. But what all those players have in common, is that they were developed OUTSIDE of Italy. It speaks volumes about the current generation of Italian developed players that the national team has to rely so heavily on players from abroad. Something needs to change in the way Primavera players are handled. We can only hope that Milan’s future team in serie C will make a difference

      2. As an interesting note, there are two other paths to citizenship for those who don’t have Italian blood. If an immigrant lives in Italy in good standing for 10 years, he/she can apply for Italian citizenship and then his/her minor children born abroad will also become Italian citizens. There was, for example, the case of Boateng who moved to Italy at the age of 5.

        Another path is that of a child born in Italy of foreign parents. Normally that child is not considered to be legally Italian due to the citizenship laws that privilege the right of blood rather than that of land (unlike the United States). That child can apply for Italian citizenship between the ages of 18 and 19. It’s just a one-year window so some miss it. But those who take advantage of it, then become Italian citizens. That is the case of Moise Kean: born in Italy (Vercelli, Piemonte) but with both parents being Ivorian, Kean was able to become an Italian citizen at age 18. It is also the case of Mario Balotelli – born in Italy (Palermo, Sicily) of Ghanaian parents, later adopted the last name of his foster parents, but also had to wait until age 18 to acquire Italian citizenship.

        I assume it is also the case of Destiny Udogie, born in Verona, Veneto, of Nigerian parents, but currently an Italian citizen and a member of the Azzurra.

  2. Having 9 Italians is not too bad, that’s almost a starting Xl. But could have more important Italians ,for example not necessarily a starter material like the Torino captain(can’t spell his name) ,but Orsolini as a backup winger and Ricci as rotational midfielder etc, rather than Mirante just for the sake of having some Italians. I understand we must produce some from academy but when you are signing which you must then get ones that can’t contribute more.

  3. The talent and quality of Italian players need to increase. For that to happen, the mindset and the training methods in Italy need to change because just like everything else there, it’s stuck as we are still in the ’90s.
    The growth decree has nothing to do with it because Italian talent has been on a downward spiral way before 2019 when the decree was introduced.
    The growth decree actually raised the quality of serie A. Since its introduction in 2019, we have actual parity in serie A, 4 different clubs won the title, compared to Juventus winning 9 in a row.
    Since its introduction teams like Inter( twice) Roma (twice) Fiorentina played European cup finals, other teams, including Milan, playing semifinals, before that only Juventus was relevant in Europe. Even that Juventus team outside of the defense was the majority of non Italian players.
    Serie A is getting an extra UCL spot because of the success Italian clubs have had since the introduction of the growth decree.
    People demonize the growth decree and use it as an excuse to justify Italian players being mostly a*s in this era.

    1. You are right my friend, I’ve seen quite a bit more improvement for some reason (probably your reasons) in the last few years or so. I do follow quite a bit of the other top leagues too but there seems to be important political differences around the sport to Italy in my little observation.

    2. I’m sure the thousands of transfers each transfer window helps.

      Riddle me this, how come the youth teams do well in Europe?

      In fact didn’t the senior team win the Euros – with 6 former Milan players!

      Nothing to see here.

  4. And? It’s a focus on quality and the Serie A simply isn’t producing. And the elimination of the growth decree may actually make the Serie A worse with its domestic players. Just a ridiculously ignorant move by a corrupt Meloni government, which have been hit by local election losses.

  5. also agents like Raiola’s & Riso make it harder Italian clubs to buy Iocal talents, they don’t care about clubs financial & players growth, the over-priced them w/ agent commission etc

  6. What a bunch of frauds some of you are. Did you forget Italy won the Euros? Where you complaining about the lack of quality Italians then? There are a lack of Italians in the starting XI because of the stupidity of the management. Inter, one of the best teams in Europe, have a strong core of Italian players as does our Primavera, which is also one of the best young teams in Europe. Italian players aren’t at the level they used to be, but by the same taken some of these boys have more talent than no name randos that many clubs sign.

    1. Two world cups missed out on consecutively. Inter dumped out of Europe consistently. Spare us. We aren’t going to be winning trophies on that basis.

      1. Italy missed out on 2 World Cup by fine margins. If they were getting hammered, you could argue that there was a lack of talent. Italy were runners-up in last year’s U20 World Cup, have won the last 2 U20 European Elite league tournaments and won last year’s Euro U19s so your argument is a crock of s*it. Italian players don’t get a chance because Italian clubs would rather sign no name foreigners than try local boys. This used to be a problem in the EPL in the 2000s, it’s not anymore. That Verratti was given a chance and became a star in France, that Gnonto, Udogie and Viviano have gone on to become important players in the EPL proves my point. The talent is there.
        You argument about Italian clubs is irrelevant, 3 Italian teams made all 3 UEFA finals last year and this year Italy is top of UEFA’s coefficient rankings. Italian clubs cannot compete with the financial power of the EPL, at least until more clubs are punished for breaching the EPL PSA rules.

        1. EPL is debating changing from points deducted to a financial penalty. Kinda like the USAs baseball luxury tax.

          Right in time for City not to get punished.

          1. City are going to get hammered, at least -10 points. City will be successful as long as Guardiola stays and I don’t think he’s going to stick around if they start far behind Liverpool and Arsenal.

      2. Italy literally did win a trophy.

        Does it not count?

        The World Cup knock outs were mostly bad luck. Like hilarious bad luck. Or else you think New Zealand and Northern Ireland were the same level as us…..

  7. That’s where I admire the likes of Bayern, they maintain their tradition of strong domestic core players and are successfully integrating their own graduates.

    Another tradition out the window by yanks.

    1. Stop embarrassing yourself. You do realise that the owners aren’t involved in who the directors identify, right? You do understand their role is just signing the cheques, right? The nationality of the players is down to Furlani, Moncada and before them M&M. That’s 3 Italians and one Frenchman.

    2. Bayern have intergrated a grand total of two player from their youth team into the first team squad in something like the last 10 years, Muller and Musiala. They’re a terrible example to use.

  8. I’d actually prefer if Milan disbanded the youth teams.

    We could stop with the pretence.

    The false hopes.

    And it would also save money. I mean what a waste of money developing players you will never use and rarely make much money from.

    Is Cutrone our biggest ever ‘capital gain’?

    Train thousands of players over a decade and have one major sale to show for it.

  9. I’d actually prefer if Milan disbanded the youth teams.

    We could stop with the pretence.

    The false hopes.

    And it would also save money. I mean what a waste of money developing players you will never use and rarely make much money from.

    Is Cutrone our biggest ever ‘capital gain’?

    Train thousands of players over a decade and have one major sale to show for it.

    1. You don’t actually understand the purpose of the youth teams. We’re Milan, not Ajax. The role of the youth team is to develop players for the first team, it’s not to generate revenue. When a high profile club isn’t bringing through talent, that points to a failure in the coaching and the coaching only. There’s a reason Man United, Chelsea, Man City and Barcelona consistently produce talent, they have the correct structure and coaches in place. We obviously didn’t, until now.

  10. I think mid- and bottom-table teams have to make the effort here. It is normal for top teams like Milan, Inter, Juve, Roma to have big # of foreign players. Those teams are international, with huge following overseas, fighting for major European trophies and for this they need to invest in the best possible talent. The more revenue and following they generate, the more money they are bringing to Serie A and the rest of the clubs through television rights, etc.

    Lecce, Salernitana, Genoa, Udinese, Verona – all have less than 1/3 of players from Italy. This is the problem, because most of those are constantly travelling between A and B division. They either have crappy academies or outside talent is much cheaper.

    If the issue is the cost of italian players, then something could be done to stimulate development of locals or make outside talent more expensive. But this is very tricky with the EU being a single market.

    1. Nonsense.

      To be a top team you need a solid base and not to constantly engage in wheeling and dealing.

      Being a top team these teams attract THE best young players in their countries and in the world. Yet virtually none of these players make it. It’s absolutely pathetic.

      Fans should stop accepting so much failure.

      1. You say nonsense and then repeat the same… of course you need the best talent, but not only from the country, also from the world. I fully support integrating the primavera talents we have, even if this costs us sometimes. Better lose points while developing our talents and giving them the much needed experience and confidence rather than sending them on loans and forgetting they exist at all.

        My point is, however, that lower tier clubs in the league should do the same to a bigger extent. What better way for them to generate revenue, if not to develop young talents in competitive league and sell them for big figures afterwards. One 20-30M transfer every couple of years would be huge deal for a club that makes 60M per annum.

        1. We would need a coach willing AND capable of playing our youth.

          The only time Pioli does it is when he’s forced into it. Every. Single. Time.

          1. Yep, because of injuries, he’s had to throw in young players. He is a good coach, most players improve under him, but he’s reactive, not proactive, and that’s why we’re out of the UCL and don’t have a prayer of winning the league. Pioli would be a good number 2.

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