Birth Date:01 December 1997
At AC Milan since:2019
Ismaël Bennacer was born in Arles, in the south of France, on 1 December 1997. The French-Algerian central midfield playmaker began his career at his hometown club Arles-Avignon. Arsenal brought him to London in the summer of 2015 as part of their Under-23 squad, giving him the chance to play in the UEFA Youth League.
He made his debut for the first team in the League Cup, before being loaned out to Tours on the last day of the winter transfer period of the same year. On his return, he was officially signed by Empoli, where, in his first year, he won the Serie B title. His dazzling performances in the Biancoazzurra shirt convinced AC Milan to acquire his services in the summer of 2019.
In his first season, he formed an important partnership with Franck Kessie in Coach Pioli's 4-2-3-1 system and went on to score his first goal on 18 July in a 5-1 win against Bologna. Despite several injuries limiting his game time, he has made a total of 145 appearances as of June 2023. Notably, he scored the winning goal in Cagliari - a key moment during the 2021/22 Serie A campaign - and the decider in the Champions League quarter-final first leg against Napoli in 2022/23. He has also experienced success at international level with Algeria: he made his debut in 2016 (after a few appearances for France's Under-18 and 19 teams) won the African Cup of Nations in Egypt in 2019, earning the best player of the tournament award. He bagged his first international goal in a 2-2 friendly draw against Mexico in October 2020.