Francesco Camarda: Milan’s Teenage Phenom

Club: AC Milan

Nationality: Italy
Position: ST

Preferred Foot: Right

Height: 6’0”/184cm

Age: 16

Strengths: finishing, movement, positioning, composure, athleticism, link-up play, weak-foot, instincts

Areas for Development: physical maturity


It has been quite the meteoric rise for Francesco Camarda. Having joined AC Milan’s academy in 2015, Camarda soared through the ranks with ease, scoring 485 goals in 89 matches for Milan’s youth sides and managing to train with the U-19 side at the tender age of 14. He made his UEFA Youth League debut against Newcastle United on September 19, 2023, scoring two goals and an assist in a 4–0 victory and becoming the second-youngest player to score a brace in the tournament.



Two months later, Milan manager Stefano Pioli called Camarda up amidst an injury crisis — in order to do so, they had to request authorization from the Italian Football Federation, as under-16 players are normally not allowed to be part of an Italian first team. Camarda would replace Luka Jović in the 83rd minute, becoming the youngest Serie A footballer ever at 15 years and 260 days of age as Milan edged Fiorentina 1-0 courtesy of a penalty from Theo Hernández.


He would make his second and final senior appearance of the campaign the following week, replacing Jović in the 85th minute of a 3-1 win vs. Frosinone. Having represented Italy at the U-15, U-16 and U-17 level, Camarda jetted off to Cyprus at the end of the campaign, where he would score four goals — second only to Rodrigo Mora’s five. But whilst Mora was subdued in the final, Camarda grabbed a brace to lead Italy to a 3-0 win vs. Portugal in the UEFA European Under-17 Championship Final.


Whilst he doesn’t turn 17 until November, there’s reason to believe that Camarda will challenge for regular minutes under new Milan manager Paulo Fonseca and push for the starting center forward position in the near future. There is a gaping void in attack following Olivier Giroud’s departure to MLS club LAFC, and Camarda has what it takes to fill the vacancy.


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An ultra-confident player, he is simply inevitable in the final third and has the ability to finish any chance that he gets. With stellar off-the-ball movement, he’s skilled at making runs in behind, subtly stepping away from his marker to create separation and give himself time on the ball to calmly finish his chance. This type of deadly movement is not easy to teach, but Camarda was born with it, and it could very well see him become an elite goal-scorer.


Camarda has excellent finishing ability and variance in the type of goals he scores, whether that’s headers, right-foot or left-foot goals, instinctive finishes, one-on-ones, volleys, shooting from distance. He doesn’t have any angle bias when shooting due to his strong left foot and impressive technique on either side.

The Milan academy prospect’s shooting technique and long legs allow him to generate lots of power on his shots, giving him good ball-striking ability. This level of power in his shots when through on goal makes even one-on-ones hard to save at the goalkeeper’s near post due to the speed that these attempts on goal move at.



Camarda’s body type, rangy legs mixed with good positioning, movement, finishing and ball-striking harkens similarities to the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Miroslav Klose, Robin Van Persie and Andriy Shevchenko, but he’s far from an old-fashioned striker. Instead, his stellar link-up play enables him to operate as a false nine whilst still retaining characteristics of an out-and-out 9 with poacher instincts, reminiscent of Harry Kane and Karim Benzema.


A complete center forward, Camarda has excellent hold-up play as he uses his body to shield the ball well, link up with other attackers and play the wingers through on goal. Capable of playing as a lone striker in a 4-3-3, his ability to create for other teammates whilst remaining on the last line of attack is essential. He has good footballing IQ and showcases his creativity with ease, dropping deep, pulling defenders out of position, and leaving space for wingers and attacking midfielders to exploit.


Camarda has excellent passing ability and is capable of weighting the through ball to perfection, and his top-level positional awareness and composed finishing allows him to be a regular goal-scorer. He’s unfazed in high-pressure situations and is a confident and clinical penalty taker, and his noteworthy athleticism is also a major attribute. With an exceptional range of movement and impressive aerial ability, he can time his jumps to perfection and head home from dangerous situations.


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He’s a strong and quick striker whose movement and killer instincts have seen him flourish at youth level, and it’s only a matter of time before he makes the adjustment to the senior level and tests his skills against physically imposing Serie A defenses. He needs to mature physically and battle against stronger, veteran defenders, but his unique skill-set and coolness in front of goal should see him become one of the most lethal strikers in Italy.


Alongside Mattia Liberali (RW), Chaka Traorè (LW), Kevin Zeroli (CM), and Davide Bartesaghi (LB), Francesco Camarda is yet another Milan youth graduate who has the potential to make a name for himself at the San Siro. At 16 years of age, there’s still a long way before he can reach his prime, but the signs are promising for Camarda as he looks to follow in the footsteps of Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi and Alessandro Costacurta and become the latest Milan academy product to reach legendary status for the Rossoneri.


By: Ben Mattinson / @Ben_Mattinson_

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / AC Milan