When AC Milan signed 14-year-old Hachim Mastour from Reggina for a reported fee of €500,000 (£408,000) in 2012, many touted the young Moroccan to flourish into a superstar.
Milan beat the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester City to the signing, but things have gone downhill ever since and his latest move is quite shocking to say the least.
From playing in the first team with the likes of Michael Essien and Stephan El Shaarawy – just two years after signing for AC – to being released from his contract three years later.
It has been a difficult journey thus far for the 19-year-old ‘wonderkid’.
It all began when a YouTube compilation of the youngster emerged online. After he scored five goals in the Ielasi Memorial tournament just months later, including one in the final against AS Roma, things were about to get serious.
Mastour was leaps and bounds ahead of his competition, and his fancy footwork managed to culminate a huge amount of views and fans.
In the space of a few months, Mastour was the biggest talent in world football. He’d racked up millions of views and suddenly the pressure began to pile on his young shoulders.
AC Milan went on win the 14-year-old’s signature under the recommendation of former manager Arrigo Sacchi and despite a turbulent season in Serie A, a rare glimpse of optimism began to circulate around the club.
He was soon compared to Wesley Sneijder for his ability in possession, but it seemed his ability to defend was a weakness to his game.
That being said, AC Milan manager Clarence Seedorf handed Mastour the chance to become the club’s youngest player to feature in Serie A, but he never came off the bench against Sassuolo at the end of the 2013/14 season.
That was his last sniff of first team football for Milan.
Mastour was then given the chance to prove himself in Spain with La Liga side Malaga. He only made a brief five minute appearance in a 1- 0 defeat to Real Betis before being ousted back to Milan.
A week after returning to Milan, the club who once praised him as a top young talent offloaded the 18-year-old to Dutch side PEC Zwolle.
Zwolle technical director Gerard Nijkamp said to the club’s website: “With Hachim we get a talented player in the group, who needs a platform to develop further.
“The fact that as a 15-year-old player he was already on the bench at AC Milan says enough about his technical skills, but talent also needs playing time to take the next step.
“We are giving Hachim the opportunity to continue playing in the spotlight with us.”
Mastour failed to make an impression in Holland, making just five senior appearances for the club, and was handed back to Milan with one year left on his contract.
Once with the world at his feet, Mastour’s fall from grace was complete in September last year when he joined Greek side Lamia on a free transfer. He has since made only three appearances for the club since arriving at the 5,500 capacity Lamia Municipal Stadium.
He reported earns £200,000 per year at the club.
Will he ever live up to his potential?
We will keep you posted on his progress in the coming months.