Former Chelsea flop thrives in Italy, makes ESPN's top 30 forwards

Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

Christian Pulisic's meteoric rise since his departure from Chelsea last summer has seen him ranked among the world's top forwards by ESPN. This recognition comes on the heels of a stellar debut season with AC Milan, where the American winger has truly come into his own.

As part of Chelsea's significant squad overhaul under new ownership in the summer of 2023, Pulisic was one of several high-profile players to leave the club. His £20 million move to Serie A has proven to be an absolute steal for AC Milan. The 25-year-old has taken the Italian league by storm, notching an impressive 15 goals and 11 assists in 50 appearances.

Pulisic's inclusion in ESPN's ranking puts him in elite company, rubbing shoulders with footballing giants like Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi. Interestingly, Chelsea's Cole Palmer also made the list, coming in at 11th after a breakout year.

After four years at Chelsea, where he scored 26 goals in 145 appearances, Pulisic was in need of a fresh start to reignite his career. The move to AC Milan has been a perfect fit, with the winger seamlessly adapting to Italian football. He has become an integral part of the Milan squad, lining up on the right flank opposite Rafael Leao.

Former AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli has been vocal in his admiration for Pulisic, praising his decision-making and relentless intensity on the pitch. This sentiment is shared by former USMNT boss Bruce Arena, who believes Pulisic has the potential to eclipse Landon Donovan as the greatest American player of all time.

With 66 senior caps and 28 goals to his name, Pulisic remains the face of the U.S. Men's National Team. As the team gears up for the Copa America, all eyes will be on the star winger to lead the charge and build on his recent success at the club level.

Pulisic's journey from a Chelsea castoff to one of the world's premier forwards is a testament to his resilience and ability to reinvent himself. His outstanding season at AC Milan has not only breathed new life into his career but also cemented his status as a world-class talent.