Picking a Serie A Team of the Season is always a tough task, this year being no different as a large number of players had superb campaigns, even in some of Italy’s struggling sides.
To make this even more difficult, we have limited the selection to just ONE PLAYER PER CLUB, ruling out the possibility of one team dominating the choices.
The line-up below contains a list of some formidable names, from a league that is renowned for its stylish football, which you can catch a glimpse of when Roma come to the UAE this week.
GOALKEEPER: SAMIR HANDANOVIĆ (INTER)
Even though Inter – who took an early lead at the top of the Serie A table – failed to mount a genuine title challenge, few goalkeepers did more to help their side than Samir Handanović. The Slovenia native was almost entirely responsible for the Nerazzurri’s quick accent, keeping opponents at bay even when the defence in front of him crumbled.
Indeed, despite Inter finishing in 4th place, Handanović made 113 saves in 2015/16, a number topped by only four other players this term and a staggering 41 more than Gigi Buffon. Yet while the Juventus ‘keeper led Serie A with 21 clean sheets, the Nerazzurri ace was in second place with an impressive 15.
Honourable mentions: Buffon (Juventus), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan) Marco Sportiello (Atalanta)
RIGHT-BACK: ŠIME VRSALJKO (SASSUOLO)
Like many of Sassuolo’s talented crop of players, Šime Vrsaljko has no shortage of admirers after performing with remarkable consistency this term. The 24 year old – who has been linked with moves to Manchester City and Barcelona when the transfer window reopens – marshalled the right flank superbly over his 35 appearances.
Contributing four assists, his ability to beat an opposing defender and whip in accurate crosses has been a vital part of the Neroverdi attack and has them on the verge of qualifying for Europe for the first time in their history.
Honourable mentions: Bruno Peres (Torino)
CENTRAL DEFENCE: GONZALO RODRIGUEZ (FIORENTINA)
Like Inter, Fiorentina started brightly but then faded in the latter half of the campaign much to the disappointment of their passionate supporters. Yet they cannot complain at the performances of Captain Gonzalo Rodriguez, the Argentinean continually outperforming those around him while ensuring the Viola backline remains organised and vigilant.
CENTRAL DEFENCE: ALESSIO ROMAGNOLI (AC MILAN)
There is little doubt that this season has seen AC Milan stumble once again, firing Siniša Mihajlović and appointing yet another inexperienced former player in Cristian Brocchi. However, there were one or two rays of hope for the Rossoneri, who appear to have acquired a superb talent in Alessio Romagnoli. The tall central defender, along with goalkeeper Gigi Donnarumma, has been a dependable figure and could be a cornerstone of a successful side should the San Siro giants finally turn the corner.
Honourable mentions: Leonardo Bonucci/Andrea Barzagli (Juve), Kamil Glik (Torino), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)
LEFT-BACK: ADAM MASINA (BOLOGNA)
Having only turned 22 in January, full-back Adam Masina has been one of a number of Bologna players to catch the eye since their return to Serie A last summer. Contributing two goals and a team-high three assists, he has been excellent at both ends of the field, averaging 2.1 tackles and 2.5 interceptions per game according to WhoScored.com.
Honourable mentions: Lucas Digne (AS Roma), Marcos Alonso (Fiorentina)
CENTRAL MIDFIELD: RADJA NAINGGOLAN (AS ROMA)
The beating heart of AS Roma’s midfield, Radja Nainggolan was already performing to a high standard under Rudi Garcia, but raised his game higher still when Luciano Spalletti took charge of the Giallorossi. The Belgian international is a consistent thorn in the side of opponents as he works tirelessly to win the ball back, but has now begun to contribute to the attack too, netting all six of his goals since the Coaching change.
CENTRAL MIDFIELD: RICCARDO SAPONARA (EMPOLI)
While the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United see Nainggolan as the ideal midfield enforcer, Riccardo Saponara has once again been the creative mastermind behind an impressive Empoli side. With five goals and eleven assists, a raft of injuries may yet see the 24 year old earn a place at Euro 2016 this summer and it would be no less than he deserves.
CENTRAL MIDFIELD: PAUL POGBA (JUVENTUS)
Watching Juventus over recent months, it has been evident that Paul Pogba has taken his game to another level, recording new career highs for both goals (10) and assists (14). No player in Serie A has bettered that second figure, with his ability to break open even the tightest defences now a vital weapon for Juve boss Max Allegri.
Honourable mentions: Jorginho/Allan (Napoli), Borja Valero (Fiorentina), Miralem Pjanic (AS Roma)
ATTACK: GONZALO HIGUAIN (NAPOLI)
A simply remarkable 36 goals in 35 games meant that Gonzalo Higuain simply has to be included in this side, his unerring accuracy the major reason Napoli mounted a title defence that lasted into April. The Argentinean striker has been unstoppable this season, and fans of the Partenopei will hope to see him back at the Stadio San Paolo in 2016/17.
ATTACK: ANDREA BELOTTI (TORINO)
His goal scoring exploits have rightly been overshadowed by those of Higuain, but Ciro Immobile’s return to Torino surprisingly brought the best from team-mate Andrea Belotti. Having scored just once by the turn of the year, the man known affectionately as “Il Gallo” – the Rooster – has bagged no fewer than 11 times so far in 2016.
ATTACK: LEONARDO PAVOLETTI (GENOA)
Much like Belotti, Leonardo Pavoletti’s form has been widely ignored, but the Genoa forward has been a major factor in their survival this term. Plundering an impressive 14 goals, the 22 year old is the highest scoring Italian in Serie A this season, but is unlikely to be part of the Azzurri squad at Euro 2016.
Honourable mentions: Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma), Carlos Bacca (Milan), Mauro Icardi (Inter)