After weeks of strenuous negotiations with Club Brugge, AC Milan have signed Charles De Ketelaere and the Belgium international is expected to make an immediate impact in Italy despite his tender age.
The Rossoneri announced the arrival of the 21-year-old on Tuesday and the attacking midfielder has signed a five-year contract with the reigning Serie A champions.
De Ketelaere will also be playing alongside two of his compatriots at Milan. Right-winger Alexis Saelemaekers has been at the club since January 2020 while striker Divock Origi joined the Rossoneri on a free transfer after spending eight years on the books of Liverpool.
Is De Ketelaere a good signing for AC Milan?
Born and raised in Bruges in the northwest of Belgium, De Ketelaere was a ball boy for Club Brugge while also rising up the youth ranks of the Belgian giants. Although he also played tennis in his youth, he realised that football was his greatest passion.
Standing at 192 cm tall, the 21-year-old may possess the height of a traditional centre-forward, but the slender midfielder is a technically gifted playmaker with graceful movements on the ball and he is most comfortable when playing behind the strikers.
De Ketelaere made his competitive debut for Blauw-Zwart in September 2019 in a Belgian Cup match, and he went on to make 25 competitive appearances throughout the 2019/20 campaign.
The 2021/22 season proved to be the youngster’s major breakthrough, scoring 18 goals in 49 competitive matches for Club Brugge and he provided plenty of attacking inspiration as the team went on to win their third consecutive Belgian Pro League title.
De Ketelaere had also represented his country in various youth categories, and Belgium coach Roberto Martinez gave the midfielder his senior debut at 19 years of age in a friendly in November 2020, which the Belgians won 2-1.
The 21-year-old has represented the Red Devils on eight occasions and he scored his only international goal so far in a 2-1 defeat to Italy in the 2021 Nations League Third Place Play-Off.
Charles De Ketelaere pronunciation
Following his arrival in Italy, both De Ketelaere himself and AC Milan were quick to address the elephant in the room. That is – how is Charles De Ketelaere pronounced?
In a clever TikTok video, AC Milan and De Ketelaere removed any doubt as they highlighted some common wrong pronunciations before he himself said his name.