The Serie A-XI of the season is a tricky one. There have been some outrageous performances, especially in the attacking department of the game. Anyway, I’m just going to jump right into it.
The nice part about these things such as “team of the season”, MVP etc., is that they’re subjective. It’s totally fine if someone disagrees with my opinions, and I’d be glad to hear your choices and why.
Before I go on, I just want to underline what I’m basing this on. Basically, I’m not a fan of basing all my judgements on stats. I’ll pick players who have done well in their respective positions, and not so much how the team as a whole has performed. Of course, if certain teams have done well, the main contributors will be credited.
Semi-rant done. I’m sticking to a formation which on paper should be a 4-4-2. It will be like this.
Totti, Totti, Totti, Totti
Totti, Totti, Totti, Totti
Oh, and yes. Totti as coach as well.
As much as my calcio heart wants this, I must admit, there are some performers this season who edge him, I’m afraid.
My real, and not utopia like Totti team, starts with this:
When thinking of the best goalkeepers in Serie A this season, two guys with the same first name, Gianluigi, comes to mind.
For me this is a choice between Milan and Juventus’ net protectors. Donnarumma seems to make extraordinary saves almost every time he enters the pitch.
Buffon, on the other side, is just this rock solid guard who doesn’t make all these spectacular saves. That’s because his positional ability is second to none. It’s not often you catch him misplaced before a shot.
I have to admit, I’m about 50/50 on this one. It’s so damn tight, but I got to go with the older Gianluigi. The factor that tips this into his favour is that Buffon’s presence in Juventus is of so high importance, both on the mental and tactical level.
My pick as goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon
This one is kind of a no-brainer for me. Atalanta’s Andrea Conti has been outstanding this season playing as right wing-back. He’s been running up and down the flank tirelessly scoring and assisting goals, as well as completing his tasks defensively. His numbers are 8 goals and 5 assist. I know attackers who’d approve such stats.
My pick as right-back: Andrea Conti
We’ll have to stay in Lombardia and Bergamo. My pick for this position is the centre-back with the most goals this campaign. We’re talking about the 1994-born centre-back of Mattia Caldara. He’s been stable all season steering Atalanta’s back line together with Toloi and Masiello.
My first pick as centre-back: Mattia Caldara
This one is between Koulibaly and Fazio. I think it’s very close. The Senegalese has, in my book, a better perception of the offensive part of the game and his passing game is more skilled than Fazio’s. The latter is though, as I see it, of more danger in the opposition box when speaking of set-pieces. Defensive-wise, the two have been pretty much at the same level. Both are decent intercepters and have great reads of the play. Since I have to go with one, I feel Koulibaly is the guy.
My second pick as centre-back: Kalidou Koulibaly
It would be weird to not include any Juventus defenders, but in my head, Bonucci hasn’t been at his normal level, Dani Alves’ contribution has mainly been in the Champions League. Chiellini has stepped up as the season went on, but I think Caldara and Koulibaly deserved it more. This row of thoughts has led me to Alex Sandro, who finally got a call-up to the Brazilian national team this May as well. He’s such a complete left-back. Pace, stamina, technique, strength and decent aerial ability. As of now, it’s not many left-backs in the world who are at a higher level. I’d probably say it’s just Marcelo. What goes for Serie A, Emerson has had a wonderful season, and if it wasn’t for this guy, he’d been a sure pick.
My pick as left-back: Alex Sandro
The one player in the Rossoneri shirt who deserves a spot in this team is Suso. I simply adore this Spanish magician. My father always said to me: “It’s when you make something look easy, as the most natural thing you’d do, that’s when you really master it.” When Suso takes on an opponent, that is exactly what I feel. He just slides past, using zero calories. Both Salah and Callejón probably deserve a spot in this team, but I’m going with the left-footed Spaniard here.
My pick as right-midfielder: Suso
A player which could, more or less, step into whatever team and make it greater (yes, that’s how complete he’s), is Radja Nainggolan. This season he has been deployed in a trequartista role by Spalletti. A really smart move by the Tuscan tactician as he gets to benefit not only from his defensive qualities, but his attacking tools as well. 11 goals and 5 assists are the Belgian’s numbers this season. I pray to God, even though I’m an atheist, that we will be enjoying him for another season at least.
My first pick as central-midfielder: Radja Nainggolan
Miralem Pjanić’s talent was indisputable in Rome already, but after he signed for Le Zebre in Turin, I think he has taken further leaps as a player. This playmaker role alongside Khedira for Juventus, fits him like a burger fits Roberto Gustafsson’s mouth. And that’s one hell of a comparison. I do, without doubt, expect that Pjanic will read this. And become emotionally touched and honoured by such words.
My second pick as central-midfielder: Miralem Pjanić
This one’s the tiny man from Fratta, Lorenzo Insigne’s, spot. He’s netted 18 times this season and assisted his Napoli teammates on 9 occasions. Man, oh man. He fits so perfectly into Sarri’s team. I both think and hope that Insigne, and Sarri for that matter, stick with the Partenopei. Insigne’s a lethal individual on the pitch and Sarri, if given resources, can create (even bigger) wonders with Napoli.
My pick as left-midfielder: Lorenzo Insigne
This is perhaps the category where I’ve had the most problems excluding people. There have been such amazing offensive displays this season by almost every team, but I have to go with two strikers, and my choices won’t surprise you too much I think. The first one was originally the plan B when Higuaín left, but proved everyone wrong. 28 goals and 9 assists. Suck on that.
My first pick as striker: Dries Mertens
Last season’s Roma flop, Edin Džeko, managed to find the net only 8 times last season. This season he really showed his inner Bosnian beast as he scored 29 goals and provided 9 assists. His goal tally was just enough to secure the Capocannoniere title as well.
My second pick as striker: Edin Džeko
Edin Džeko (Roma)
Here are the players that just did not make the cut this season:
Alejandro “El Papu” Gómez
Tell me what you think of my team of the year in the commentary below.