What Can Filippo Terracciano Bring to Milan’s Defense?

Club: Milan
Nationality: Italy
Position(s): RB, RWB, DM, CM
Preferred Foot: Right
Height: 5’11”/181cm
Age: 21
Strengths: crossing, vision, weak-foot, technical ability, defensive intelligence, passing, 1v1 defending, timing of tackles, athleticism, speed
Areas for Development: physical strength


It was a fairly quiet January transfer window in Italian football, but one team that saw plenty of action was Hellas Verona. They signed a total of nine players — three on loan — but they also lost quite a few starters as well to fellow Serie A clubs. Cyril Ngonge made the move to Napoli for €18 million, Isak Hien joined Atalanta for €8.5 million, Josh Doig headed for Sassuolo for €5 million, and Filippo Terracciano made the move to Milan.



At 21 years of age, Terracciano has established himself as a versatile right back / right wing-back who can shift into midfield and put his stellar ability in possession to good use. He is a fantastic passer and boasts an impressive delivery of his crosses, a player who is constantly influential in the final third and whose threat on the ball doesn’t take away from his defensive nous and his value off the ball.


Terracciano is not always the player to get direct assists, but rather, the pre-assist. He is constantly scanning the pitch and looking to receive the ball, but it’s what he does after getting the ball that makes him special. He has the vision and precision to cut through defenses with his inch-perfect passing, boasting the technical ability and footballing IQ to make the difference in attacking areas.


His spatial awareness, ball manipulation, ability to invade space through his line-cutting passes, and his accurate crossing make him a multi-dimensional playmaker who is skilled with his weak foot as well. However, as good as he is on the ball, he also has incredible defensive intelligence. The Italian reads the game very well with 1.1 interceptions per 90, 2.56 tackles per 90 and 1.46 blocks per 90, and he times his tackles to perfection and picks the right moment to dive in and make a sliding tackle.


With so many tactical set-ups being heavily focused on isolating the opponent’s full-backs against the wingers, it is vital that fullbacks can hold their own in 1v1 duels. Terracciano does not disappoint in this aspect, anticipating play well and capable of keeping the top wingers in the game quiet across 90 minutes. He isn’t just a special player in possession — he can be a lockdown fullback when needed as well.



When it comes to Terracciano’s profile, the icing on the cake is his shooting ability. Whilst he’s racked up just two assists and zero goals in 41 Serie A appearances, he has the ability to test the goalkeeper with a long-range rocket from either foot. A formidable athlete, he works hard for his team out of possession and has the engine and stamina to cover the entire pitch and still be effective on the ball.


He is a speedy player who is more than capable of tracking back and making brilliant recovery tackles, and who has the trickery and inventiveness to beat a man in attack. At 5’11”, he isn’t exactly undersized, but he should certainly bulk up and add more muscle to his game in order to become more consistent when defending 1v1s and coming out on top in ground duels.


At Hellas Verona, Terracciano would operate as a hybrid right wing-back / right midfielder, a role that required him to cover large amounts of the pitch. His athleticism, speed and stamina would come in handy for the Italian, who would cover the entire right flank and constantly chip in with buccaneering runs down the flanks whilst also helping out the back three in defensive tasks.


A versatile performer, Terracciano has previously played as a defensive midfielder and a central midfielder, which may pay dividends in terms of his spatial awareness. He is effective in creating from central areas and holding his own defensively, but the question is: what’s his best role?



On the evidence of his time at Hellas Verona, he’s best utilized as a right wing-back / right midfielder hybrid who is adept at overlapping the right winger and delivering pinpoint crosses into the box, but he’d also thrive as a right midfielder in a 4-4-2 formation. However, he could very well flourish as an inverted right back who can drift through the lines, pick out dangerous passes and deliver tempting crosses from the half-spaces.


There are many fullbacks like Trent Alexander-Arnold and Oleksandr Zinchenko who excel in possession but who are often vulnerable in the defensive side of things: Terracciano is anything but. He’s a player who can build from deep, thread the needle with his passing, and who also has the stamina to cover the entire pitch and lock down his opposing winger in 1v1 situations.


Milan signed Terracciano on a contract through June 2028, paying a fee of €4.5 million plus €1.5 million in add-ons with a 10% sell-on clause on a future sale. Since departing the Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi, Terracciano has found opportunities hard to come by at the San Siro as he looks to make the transition from a back five to a back four.



He would make his Milan debut on January 10, operating as a left midfielder and logging a half-hour in their Coppa Italia defeat to Atalanta, before coming on for the final minutes of their 2-2 draw to Bologna and making brief cameos in their Europa League matches against Rennes. After several weeks as an unused substitute, Terracciano made his first Milan appearance in 44 days on Saturday, coming on for the final minutes of their 3-0 win against Lecce.


Whilst he has his work cut out for him as he looks to beat out captain Davide Calabria (27) for Milan’s starting right back position, time is on Filippo Terracciano’s side. At the tender age of 21, he’s already shown signs of being a complete threat both in terms of his passing and crossing ability as well as his defensive prowess, and he has the tools to push for a greater first-team role going into the 2024/25 season.


By: Ben Mattinson / @Ben_Mattinson_

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Claudio Villa / AC Milan