El Shaarawy: AC Milan still possess champion quality

The Italy Under-21 starlet continues to believe the Serie A giant has enough stars left in it ranks, but urges his teammates to play collectively next season.
Stephan El Shaarawy is adamant AC Milan still boasts a strong squad, despite the departures of Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris Saint-Germain earlier in the summer.

The promising youngster expects the likes of "champion" trio Alexandre Pato, Antonio Cassano and Robinho to come to the fore next season, but claims the San Siro side must function as a team if it is to enjoy success.

"Thiago Silva and Ibra are two outstanding players who led us to great things. Without them the team lose something, but new players have come in and are doing well. We have champions like Pato, Cassano and Robinho, who can give this team a lot," El Shaarawy said to Milan Channel. "And I think other new faces will arrive who will make their contribution. Whatever happens, the team is compact and that is fundamental.

"We must remain united, play as a team, like we did at Udine last February, when we had been written off by everybody but the strength of the group shone through."

AC Milan kicks off the 2012-13 campaign with a home match against Sampdoria on August 25.