The kids closing in on San Siro's geriatrics

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Suddenly AC Milan are in danger of losing their tag of Serie A’s elder statesmen.

Hardly had we got over the shock of seeing 18-year-old Alexandre Pato skip on to the scene to shake some life into the San Siro geriatrics than another teenager young enough to be Paolo Maldini’s son pops up to highlight the generation gap that exists within the club.

Four months younger than Pato, Alberto Paloschi took just 18 seconds to find the back of the net after coming on as a second half substitute in Sunday’s league game against Siena.

In the time it took to trot on to the pitch and sprint beyond the defence to volley home a Clarence Seedorf pass to set a new record for the quickest debut goal in the top flight, the youngster achieved more than Ronaldo had in his 45 minutes of inactivity in the same game.

Father Time has taken its toll on the plump Brazilian who is now a shadow of his previous self; in fact he seems capable of casting two shadows such is his ever-expanding girth.

The whispers around the pizzerias in the San Siro area is that Ronie will be packing his bags for a one-way flight down Rio way in June.

It will be like the end of the Swinging Sixties this summer when 40-year-old Paolo Maldini finally gives his knees a well-earned rest while Marcus Cafu, Nelson Dida and Serginho fumble for their Zimmer frames and shuffle off into the sunset.

However, there should be no repeat of a ’70s-style fall-out as not only does dear old uncle Carlo Ancelotti have Pato and Paloschi set to reek mayhem like a group of ‘hoodies’ coming across a stalled fire-engine but there is also another youth product Matteo Darmian being fitted with the ‘new Maldini’ label at this very moment.

In fact, there is a youthful glow up and down the peninsula and the future, like most Italian summer mornings, looks bright. Here’s a few proving the kids are alright:

Inter’s17-year-old Mario Balotelli is built like a heavy middleweight and has already scored twice against Juventus in this season’s Italian Cup quarter-final.

Juventus-owned Sebastian Giovinco, at 20, despite looking disturbingly like Hillary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry, is being primed to take over the Alessandro Del Piero role when his loan at Empoli ends.

Genoa have farmed 18-year-old Fernando Forestieri out to Siena where the Italo-Argentine striker opened his goalscoring account against Inter

And Atalanta’s Italy Under-17 striker Michele Marconi, at 18, vied with Balotelli for star billing at the recent Viareggio youth tournament and will step up to the first-team squad next season.