There is a case for picking almost everyone in the Juventus team, but Dave Taylor feels this would not do justice to several other top players who deserve to make Football Italia’s Team of the Season for 2013-14.
In a 3-5-2 formation, the Old Lady can still boast five players, as can Italy, whilst this World Cup year welcomes representatives from Morocco, France, Chile, Argentina, Bosnia and Colombia.
Gianluigi Buffon [Juventus]: 9
A tough choice with several others running him close, but his stats speak for themselves. For starters he has easily the most successful pass rate and despite not being tested as much as most, going 18 games without conceding, including eight consecutive clean sheets, is no mean feat. Zoffish.
Giorgio Chiellini [Juventus]: 9
An old-fashioned defender who is so mean, he doesn’t just park the bus, he sticks clamps on all four wheels before throwing the keys away. Never one to back down from a challenge he has Paolo Montero’s spirit powering through his veins. Always dangerous at set pieces and a solid, secure soldier in the Conte cause. Montero-man.
The Moroccan played an absolutely crucial part in Roma only conceding once in their first 10 games. He is not too shabby up front either as his five goals shows. A dominating presence who sniffs out danger early, perfectly exemplified by his low average of just 2.2 tackles per game. Aldairish.
Alessandro Lucarelli [Parma]: 9
The Italian veteran was a leading light in a Gialloblu defence that went on a 17-match unbeaten run. Unafraid to burst out of defence and illuminating both in the air and on the ground he has scored four times, twice with his head and one with each foot. Lilian Thuramish.
Juan Guillermo Cuadrado [Fiorentina]: 9
Contributing to defence and attack on the right flank, the Colombian’s movement provided crucial width this season for Fiorentina. His needle-sharp reflexes and guile have seen him score a goal every three games while he also has one of the highest dribble rates in European football at 3.3 per game. Laudrup-like.
Paul Pogba [Juventus]: 9.5
A domineering, versatile presence in one of Europe’s strongest midfields, he played in several roles and was outstanding in every one. Doesn’t do standard, as his thunderbolt strike against Napoli showed, when he flicked the ball up to right-foot volley home from 25 metres at 101km/h, just one from seven scored, with seven assists. Edgar Davidsish.
Not just the best midfielder in Serie A but arguably in Europe. Now in his third season it’s no coincidence that it’s Juve’s third title. His unlimited energy is typified by the average 11.5km he runs every game and, along with his piercing distribution, the Warrior battles the opposition into submission every match. Pirloistic.
Miralem Pjanic [Roma]: 9.5
The Bosnian’s pace, power and pin-point passing dictated the tempo and along with his goals he has been simply brilliant. Scored arguably the goal of the season in Week 35 when his Maradona-esque blend of movement and technique destroyed three Milan defenders before he side-stepped a bedazzled Christian Abbiati to slot home. Giannini-style.
Alessio Cerci [Torino]: 10
The 26-year-old winger has had an absolutely standout season with 13 great goals, especially the late winner against Genoa, and 10 assists. Although he plays on the right he has to be in any Team of the Season, as coming in from the flank, his pace, trickery and left foot are devastating. Lentini-like.
Carlos Tevez [Juventus]: 10
The muscular Argentinean spearheaded Juve’s push to the title becoming their top scorer with 19 goals. Full of energy, inspiration and sheer old-fashioned work-rate, he showed all this and more many times but especially with his splendid hat-trick and assist in the 4-0 rout of Sassuolo in week 16. Vialli-ish.
The 24-year-old Capocannoniere has had an outstanding season and with 22 goals has been Serie A’s most consistent striker. His Week 23 goal against Milan showed his intelligence and movement perfectly, as he beat the offside trap, dodged a defender and foiled Abbiati before finishing with a right-footed curler into the far corner. Francesco Grazianitastic.
Coach: Rudi Garcia [Roma]: 9.5
The French Coach was brought in to set a team up for the future and made a few tweaks while investing faith in the right players. The Serie A virgin’s brand of expansive and exciting football pushed Roma into a well-deserved second place in his first season. Ottavio Bianchi-like.
Special mentions: Gervinho [Roma], Antonio Candreva [Lazio], Ricardo Alvarez [Inter], Romulo [Verona] Jose Callejon [Napoli], Borja Valero [Fiorentina], Luca Toni [Verona], Leandro Castan [Roma], Francesco Totti [Roma], Gonzalo Higuain [Napoli], Gabriel Paletta [Parma], Morgan De Sanctis [Roma], Antonio Candreva [Lazio] Mattia Perrin [Gemoa]