Usually, every football player has to go a long way through youth teams to reach a place in the first team. However, some natural talents turn the idea of climbing the football hierarchy upside down and adapt to professional football immediately. One example of such a player is 18-year-old Atalanta phenomenon – Mustafa Sise.
Mustafa Sise was born on September 14, 2003, in the capital of Guinea – Conakry. Mustafa’s childhood was very difficult – when he was small, his father suddenly disappeared. As a teenager, the talented boy made the difficult decision to emigrate to Italy, where he quickly became passionate about football. In 2019, he joined the 8th division team ASD Rinaschita. What’s specific about this club is that it is mainly made up of refugees from African countries. However, this team attracted the attention of Atalanta’s comprehensive scouting team. Over the past few years, during which “the goddess” has made serious progress, their network of scouts has become huge and selects exceptionally high-quality players. Such is the case with Mustafa Sise. The inexperienced striker impressed the representatives of the elite Italian club with his qualities, and they immediately recommended him to the sports-technical management. However, his acquisition was not easy, as Atalanta had to free up a spot for a player with a passport from a non-European Union country, as all positions were filled. Nevertheless, the Italian team did everything possible to register the talented boy. After quick and successful negotiations with Sise himself, he signed a contract with Atalanta’s Primavera on February 23, 2022. His debut for the youth team came just a few days later, and the goals did not delay. In his first match, he scored 2 goals against Milan’s youth team, and on March 9, he scored in Napoli’s goal as well. His playing style, goal instinct, and visual resemblance quickly bring him comparisons with Atalanta’s blade, Duvan Zapata, but it still seems premature to talk about his debut among the men’s team. We move just a month after Sise’s arrival in Bergamo. Atalanta faced a difficult away game against Bologna.
In the expanded roster of the “Goddess”, the team was missing its top scorers, Josip Ilicic, the aforementioned Duvan Zapata, as well as Alexei Miranchuk. With no traditional center forward available, the only healthy and experienced attacker for the “blue and blacks” was Luis Muriel. To address this issue, Gian Piero Gasperini made an unexpected decision to include Mustafa Sise in the expanded squad, even though he is only 18 years old and has not yet spent a full month with the club.
The match wasn’t going particularly well for Atalanta. During the first half, the team from Bergamo controlled the flow of the game but failed to score. After a more chaotic start to the second half, Gasperini was forced to turn to the bench. Mustafa Sise was called up by the Italian specialist, and the Guinean teenager realized his dream by making his Serie A debut at just 18 years old, and only a month after leaving amateur club ASD Rinaskita. However, surprises for the striker did not end there. In the 82nd minute of the match, Mario Pasalic made a fantastic pass to the feet of the debutant, who sent the ball into Bologna’s net with an incredibly precise left-footed shot. This turned out to be the only goal of the match, and the inexperienced teenager, who had been playing among amateurs just a month earlier, Mustafa Sise, became the hero of the game, keeping Atalanta’s hopes of finishing in the top four alive. After the final whistle, Sise was appropriately treated as he was carried on the shoulders of his teammates.