Serie A team of the season: which rising stars made our Italian cut?
As Serie A prepares to shut up shop for summer, following another season of intrigue and excitement from Italy’s finest, Coral experts have come up with our own excellent Italian top-flight team of the season.
Here is the XI of players who impressed us most, plus subs. Agree or disagree? Have your say on Twitter.
Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
Holder of the most clean Serie A sheets, Buffon does not look likely to let that record slip anytime soon. An authorative and experienced presence at the back, Juve (11/5 with Coral to win the Champions League) do not look the same without their super stopper, who sealed 18 shut-outs, as the Old Lady target a treble.
Right back: Matteo Darmian (Torino)
Flying full back Darmian has been consistently excellent for Torino this term, impressing with his jinks down the right flank and contributing five goals and four assists across all competitions, including a dramatic equaliser in the Bull’s derby triumph over cross-town rivals Juve. Could the AC Milan academy product now be headed for bigger things?
Centre back: Kamil Glik (Torino)
Another brilliant Bull performer to have attracted attention from abroad, is imperious Pole Glik, who is a dominant force in defence and also a significant set piece threat. A natural leader, the Torino captain hit an impressive seven Serie A goals this campaign.
Centre back: Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
There are few who would doubt Chiellini’s status as the best centre half in Italy, and his importance to the Old Lady has once again been illustrated this season. When Juve cannot dominate, the Azurri international is absolutely vital in locking down defence.
Left back: Senad Lulic (Lazio)
The Eagles certainly have a penchant for developing the talents of superb Serbian left-sided widemen, and Lulic is another in a prestigious line, including Aleksandar Kolarov and Sinisa Mihajlovic. Lulic operated excellently in a variety of roles for Serie A surprise package Lazio, in both defence and midfield, providing eight assists.
Central midfield:Paul Pogba (Juventus)
A season on from being named Europe’s Golden Boy, powerful Pogba continues to improve at a dramatic rate, and despite his young age has once again been integral to Juve’s Scudetto success. Having refined his defensive nous, but still notching eight strikes and seven assists, Serie A fans will be hoping the prodigy stays put.
Central midfield: Marco Parolo (Lazio)
Another key performer for the blue half of Rome, Parolo can be counted on to contribute at both ends of the pitch, with the box-to-box midfielder’s excellent output of nine goals earning the 30-year-old regular run outs with the Azzurri. It’s nice to reward a late bloomer!
Central midfield: Miralem Pjanic (Roma)
Playmaker Pjanic’s magic feet have conjured up 10 league assists for the Giallorossi this campaign, joint top alongside Marek Hamsik and Paulo Dybala, as the midfield orchestrator continues to excel in the capital.
Right wing: Jeremy Menez (AC Milan)
Mercurial Menez finally came of age as the brightest spark in a poor term for fallen giants Milan. The tricky French forward rocketed up the scoring charts with a superb 16, before slightly tarnishing his scintillating season with a four-match ban.
Centre forward: Carlos Tevez (Juventus)
Tenacious Tevez scored 20 times to help Juve seal a fourth straight Scudetto, but there is far more to the excellent Argentine, who has mastered the art of being an all-round centre forward, than just sensational stats.
Compatriot Mauro Icardi has two more than Tevez, but the latter’s form has got him back in favour at international level and he goes to the Copa America instead of Inter Milan’s leading marksman.
Left wing: Felipe Anderson (Lazio)
Newcomer Anderson wins a spot in our XI for a dazzling debut season, in which the Brazilian whizz proved Italy can still attract, and nurture, top young talent. The Eagles attacker is a regular game changer and, at just 22, has limitless potential.
Anderson in action:
Subs: Morgan De Sanctis, Stefan De Vrij, Stephan Lichsteiner, Mirko Valdifiori, Fredy Guarin, Alvaro Vazquez, Marek Hamsik, Antonio Candreva, Iago Falque, Paulo Dybala, Antonio Di Natale, Luca Toni
It was tough to bench these top quality players, with Serie A once again showing it is the stage for stars to age gracefully on. The likes of Di Natale (37) and Toni (38) have all still been crucial for their clubs this campaign, with the veteran predators netting a combined 36 strikes.
Alongside them are exciting emerging talents such as Dybala and Falque, who both shone alongside modest supporting casts. Meanwhile, recent Azzurri call-ups including Argentina-born Vazquez and Empoli’s Valdifiori also deserve a nod.