2014-15 SERIE A REVIEW

Serie A Team of the Season 2014-15

Whilst the temptation may be there to list just Juventus’ starting XI in the Team of the Season, Dave Taylor recognises the other individual talent to have shone alongside the Bianconeri’s best this term.

Mattia Perin [Genoa]: 9

Yet another commanding season for the young Italian ‘keeper, whose world-class saves and positioning won many a crucial point for Genoa. Without doubt a worthy successor to the great Gianluigi Buffon and has unlimited potential plus, and it’s a big plus, his shots-to-save percentages are among the very best in Europe. Buffon-like.

Kamil Glik [Torino]: 9

Never afraid to burst out of defence, the Polish ace, with seven goals inside 30 games has been one of Europe’s top scoring defenders, not that his goal-scoring was allowed to interfere with his day job. With an excellent average of 92 per cent of his passes on target, he was always ready to turn a tackle into an attack. Bergomi-like.

Lorenzo Tonelli [Empoli]: 9

The Florence-born defender graduated through Empoli’s youth system and has handled his first season in Serie A with a mature professionalism. Still just 25 his fresh energy was vital to their cause while he commanded his backline with a blend of awareness and purpose that helped his team avoid relegation with relative ease. Cabrini-like.

Leonardo Bonucci [Juventus]: 9.5

The 28-year-old defender has had an extra spring in his step this season and his personality and playing style perfectly suited Juve’s back three. His development in determination and decision-making made him particularly stand out and he has been the silk to Giorgio Chiellini’s steel. Nesta-like.

Antonio Candreva [Lazio]: 9.5

He was devastating down the right side and brought a crucial width to the team, running beyond defenders while stretching the play and switching defence into attack in a heartbeat. His sensational form has seen him score 10 goals with 12 assists and he was always a dependable outlet for teammates. Causio-like.

Radja Nainggolan [Roma]: 9

As the team’s engine room the Belgian has inspired his side throughout with his movement on and off the ball. A perfect example was seen in Week 36’s 2-1 defeat of Udinese where he scored the vital equaliser before helping to force home the winner, which returned them to second. Conti-like.

Felipe Anderson [Lazio]: 9.5

Continued his stunning performances from the first half of the season utilising his pace, creativity and delivery. According to a CIES survey involving Europe’s best players under 23, the Brazilian is ranked as the top forward and with 10 goals and eight assists that has been shown on many occasions. Camoranesi-like.

Paul Pogba [Juventus]: 9.5

It’s no exaggeration that the young, tall, powerfully-built Frenchman has become one of the planet’s best players. The completely modern midfielder, he can change direction in a split-second, set up play and destroy the opposition’s as well. Despite injury, his resilience, intelligence and ability plus his eight goals has many of Europe’s biggest clubs coveting him. Tardelli-like.

Carlos Tevez [Juventus]: 10

There has been no stopping the charismatic striker, who apart from running close in the Capocannoniere standings, dragged defenders out of position from deep and worked absolutely tirelessly for the team. Add his goals, assists and regular appearances in Football Italia’s Team of the Week and they exemplify the consistency, continuity and control he has shown all season. Bettega-like.

Antonio Di Natale [Udinese]: 9

The veteran striker who turned 37 during the early season is a legend, breaking several scoring records. Perhaps his most special achievement was his 205th Serie A strike in April, equalling the great Roberto Baggio and like il Codino, he was always there when a goal was needed. Di Natale-like.

Paulo Dybala [Palermo]: 9.5

As Palermo’s top scorer and mischief-maker supreme, the young Argentinean had a standout season. An absolute livewire in and around the box, he made himself really difficult to defend against. With 13 goals and 10 assists he excited fans with his dashing, positive runs, dribbles and terrific strikes. Schillaci-like.

Coach: Stefano Pioli [Lazio]: 9.5

In only his first season, the former Bologna Coach has made astounding progress. He has ensured those players brought in have looked like the right decisions, whist he inspired the rest to greater heights with his exciting interpretation of the 4-2-3-1 system. Allows his players to express themselves to the admiration of fans and critics alike. Eriksson-like.

Special mention: Massimiliano Allegri [Juventus] 9.5

Deserves an award for taking Juventus to their fourth straight title win plus this season’s Italian Cup and most impressive of all in his first season, the Champions League Final.

Special mentions: Gianluigi Buffon [Juventus], Claudio Marchisio [Juventus], Arturo Vidal, [Juventus], Jeremy Menez [Milan], Jose Holebas [Roma], Daniel Rugani [Empoli], Matteo Darmian [Torino], Mauro Icardi [Inter], Borja Valero [Fiorentina], Luca Toni [Verona], Francesco Totti [Roma], Gonzalo Higuain [Napoli].