BLOG ITALIA
Saturday May 28 2011
Team of the Season

The campaign is over, the Scudetto trophy collected, so Dave Taylor gives us his team of the season

Morgan De Sanctis [Napoli]

The 34-year-old veteran has great positional sense and his excellent shot-stopping has helped him save several crucial penalties this season. Factor in his agility, consistency and command of the area and it's no surprise he also kept 17 clean sheets. Played a major part in Napoli's top three finish and the league's third best defence. Unflappable.

Ignazio Abate [Milan]

Made a right-back by Leonardo, he has come into his own under Coach Massimiliano Allegri and his pacey runs down the flank have kept opposition wingers firmly in their place. Still a little under-rated but maturing very nicely into a top class wing-back. Seems to have a mindset that none shall pass and very few did. Decisive.

Giorgio Chiellini [Juventus]

The muscular, intimidating Italian international has been one of the Bianconeri's most consistent players and certainly menaced many opposition forwards. An extra threat at set pieces, he has scored four goals in all games. Not the sort to back out of a challenge, he puts his heart and soul into every tackle. Fundamental.

Thiago Silva [Milan]

One of the very best defenders in Europe, the Brazilian has everything that the modern footballer needs: intelligence, pace and an assurance in possession. His elegant style, superb tackling and positioning are some of the major reasons why Milan won the league, conceding just 24 goals along the way. Irreplaceable.

Federico Balzaretti [Palermo]

The former Juve left-back won his first Italy cap last year and has proven to be one of Serie A's top defenders. Has scored a couple of crucial goals while also setting up seven for others and has a work ethic that is second to none. Unafraid to go where others fear to tread. Crucial.

Christian Maggio [Napoli]

An absolute nail-in as right midfielder, the former Samp man possesses an adaptability to play anywhere along the right flank and occasionally in the centre. Scored four goals and excels at getting up field to put crosses into the area, yet never neglected his defensive duties. Vital.

Hernanes [Lazio]

Has been the crown jewel in Lazio's title push and on his day completely unstoppable. His delightful creativity sets up wave after wave of attacks from playing deep at times, but also plays centrally just behind the strikers. Despite scoring a record 11 goals from midfield, the Prophet still believes his fans haven't seen his best. God help the opposition when he feels he's on top form. Dominating.

Josip Ilicic [Palermo]

Flies up and down the left flank like a cheetah zeroing in on a kill. His goal against Fiorentina that saw the ball scream into the top right-hand corner of the net from outside the area was typical of his skills and scoring abilities. With eight goals and seven assists, he also possesses an awareness and technique far beyond his age. Elegant.

Alexis Sanchez [Udinese]

One of the world's most naturally gifted footballers, the Chilean seems to have gravitated towards becoming a second striker over a winger and has done superbly. His unbelievable pace and trickery has seen him score 12 goals while making 12 assists. Can do almost anything with the ball: flicks, stepovers, backheels, precise crosses and his solo goal against Genoa was one of the standouts of his season. Exceptional.

Edinson Cavani [Napoli]

With 26 goals including three hat tricks and several last moment winners, the Matador has been this season's stand out striker in devastating form. The Uruguayan possesses a killer instinct and a fabulous technique that strikes fear into the opposition before they even take to the field. Deserves praise as the complete team player, who is also the first line of defence. Outstanding.

Antonio Di Natale (Udinese)

Class, leadership and inspiration, the 34-year-old plays with the energy of someone a decade younger. Scored three hat-tricks amongst his record 28 goals in 33 games and also set up five more. Tends to be a bit selfish, as all great strikers are, and the Friuli veteran is surely one of them. Integral.

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