Full name: Ismael Bennacer
Date of birth: 01 December 1997
Place of birth: Arles, France
Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
National team: Algeria
Joined: 04 August 2019
Contract until: 30.06.2024
Ismael Bennacer is an Algerian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Italian club Milan and the Algeria national team.
At club level, Bennacer has represented teams in France, England and Italy throughout his career. At international level, he made his senior debut for Algeria in 2016, and has since represented his nation at two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations. He was a member of the team that won the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, and was named the player of the tournament.
Ismael Bennacer was born in Arles, France to a Moroccan father and an Algerian mother.
AC Milan career
On 4 August 2019, A.C. Milan announced they had signed Bennacer from Empoli for a reported transfer fee of €16 million plus bonuses. He underwent his medical on 23 July and signed a five-year contract, with a reported salary of €1.5 million per season.
After starting his career with French club Arles, Ismael Bennacer signed for Premier League side Arsenal in July 2015. He made his senior Arsenal debut in the League Cup fourth round away to Sheffield Wednesday on 27 October 2015, replacing Theo Walcott after 19 minutes, after the latter had already replaced the injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in an eventual 3–0 loss.
On 31 January 2017, it was announced that Bennacer would join Ligue 2 side Tours on loan for the remainder of the 2016–17 season. He scored his first goal for Tours on 14 April 2017 against Sochaux from a free kick.
On 21 August 2017, Ismael Bennacer joined Italian club Empoli.
Although he had previously represented France at youth level, on 31 July 2016, the Algerian Football Federation announced that Bennacer had opted to switch his international allegiance and represent Algeria internationally. He debuted for the Algeria national team in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier, a 6–0 win over Lesotho. Bennacer was called up on 11 January 2017 to Algeria’s squad for the African Cup of Nations of 2017 to replace Saphir Taïder, who suffered an injury in training.
At the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, Ismael Bennacer helped Algeria to their first title in 29 years, finishing the competition as the joint-top assist provider, alongside Franck Kessie , with three assists, including one for Baghdad Bounedjah’s match-winning goal against Senegal in the final on 19 July. He was later voted both the “Best Young Player” and the “Best Player” of the tournament.
A dynamic, tenacious, energetic, diminutive, and versatile left-footed player, who is regarded as a highly promising prospect in modern football, Bennacer is capable of playing in several midfield roles, and has been used as a deep-lying playmaker in a holding role in midfield, as an attacking midfielder, or as an central offensive-minded midfielder, known as the mezzala role in Italian football. His main characteristics are his speed, vision, intelligence, composure, dribbling skills, passing, and technique; he is also known for his ability to transition from defence into attack.