It has been one of the most competitive Serie A seasons in recent memory filled with ups and downs throughout the campaign. Controversies, of course, are never scarce in the league and even before the season kicked off we had a sacking! Bologna’s Coach Franco Colomba was fired a day before the season began – by owner Sergio Porcedda. It was an untimely act to say the least but did prove fruitful for both parties as the season wore on. Colomba took charge of Parma in the latter stages of the season and avoided the drop with them while Bologna appointed Alberto Malesani as their manager for one season. Inspite of three points deduction and various problems at the higher areas of the club, Malesani comfortably led Bologna to safety.
The title went to the red half of Milan as AC Milan ended their 7 year drought without a Scudetto in Max Allegri’s first season in charge of the Rossoneri. The race for the elusive last Champions League spot went right down to the wire, but in the end, Udinese came out on top and they’re easy-on-the-eye football was a delight to behold for Serie A fans. Edy Reja’s well drilled Lazio outfit and Vincenzo Montella’s Roma side fell short in the end and both had to settle for a Europa League place.
While at the foot of the table, Brescia, Sampdoria and Bari, who suffered a case of ‘second season syndrome’ were all relegated to the second tier of Italian football.
The Fabio Quagliarella Award For Goal of The Season
Edinson Cavani (Napoli)
Quite a few contenders would fall in this category. Andrea Pirlo’s memorable strike vs Parma comes to mind and one can’t forget Ezequiel Lavezzi’s second half chip against AC Milan at the San Paolo. Edinson Cavani’s late winner against Lecce however takes the cake. In what falls under one of his many late winners, this Cavani goal epitomizes Napoli’s never-say-die spirit instilled by Walter Mazzarri.
Coach Of The Season
Max Allegri (AC Milan)
A Scudetto in your first year in charge of AC Milan isn’t too bad. Max Allegri has done an exceptionally good job with the Rossoneri. Not only were Milan solid at the back, they were fluid in attack and credit has to be given to Allegri. He has also rejuvenated players like Rino Gattusso, Christian Abbiati, Mark Van Bommel while keeping a check on Antonio Cassano and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s egos.
Player Of The Season
Edinson Cavani (Napoli)
The summer arrival from Palermo has been nothing short of brilliant this campaign for Napoli. Often employed on the wings in his time in Sicily, El Matador has made the transition to a more central role under Walter Mazzarri and now spearheads the Partenopei’s attack. With an incredible 26 goals this season, Cavani is the highest goal-scorer for Napoli in a single season. His blistering pace, lethal finishing ability and all around team ethic is what makes him one of the best strikers in world football right now. He also possesses the uncanny knack of scoring late winners and is a symbol of the never-say-die Napoli spirit we’ve witnessed all season long.
Best Victory Dance
Kevin Prince Boateng (AC Milan)
The celebrations were well and truly underway for newly crowned champions AC Milan. Kevin Prince Boateng took centre stage and put on his dancing shoes to woo the Calcio world with his own version of Michael Jackson’s legendary moonwalk. His skills on the dance floor left Adriano Galliani a bit apprehensive as these moves would definitely increase Prince’s transfer fee.
Worst Victory Dance
Tiziano Crudelli – AC Milan’s number one fan should probably leave the dancing to KPB.
Match Of The Season
What did this game not have? Early kick-offs in Serie A didn’t always go down to well with fans but this game will be remembered for the sheer level of excitement that it produced. There wasn’t a single dull moment. From controversies – to cards – to plenty of goals – to a terrific atmosphere, this game had it all. Stefano Mauri gave the away side the lead with an amazing effort in the 30th minute. In the second half, Javier Garrido’s free-kick was met by Andre Dias to double Lazio’s lead. This instigated a memorable comeback by Napoli. Dossena capitalised on Ezeuquiel Lavezzi’s cross and netted his first goal of the season to make the score 1-2. Two minutes later, Edinson Cavani got his first goal of the night with an easy header to level the proceedings.
Controversy emerged in the 68th minute when Cristian Brocchi’s thunderbolt of an effort hit the woodwork and appeared to cross the line but the ref waved play on and Lazio were denied a clear goal, much to Edy Reja’s anger. A minute later, Salvatore Aronica’s poor own goal helped Lazio regain their lead. From then on, the Cavani show resumed. The Uruguayan international amazingly dragged Napoli to victory. Giuseppe Biava was perhaps harshly sent off for a challenge on Cavani in the penalty box. Cavani sent his international team-mate, Muslera the wrong way to equalize yet again. It wasn’t over yet and in the 88th minute, Cavani lobbed the ball over a helpless Muslera to send the Napoli faithful into raptures with a historic victory. A game that perhaps one would hope never end.
Howler Of The Season
After an impressive showing in the World Cup, Eduardo joined Genoa’s revolution in the summer. However, his stint didn’t go as smoothly as his world cup did as he constantly managed to produce blunder after blunder. The one against Inter would even make Almunia look away in shame.
‘It was easier to score’ Moment Of The Season
Emmaanuele Giaccherini’s performances have been eye-catching this season but this miss against Juve definitely had people rubbing their eyes in disbelief. Samuel Eto’o has been one of the best strikers of our generation but his miss in the Derby D’Italia hasn’t been his best finish.
Flop Of The Season
Another miserable campaign for Juve, another year without Champions League football. This has been arguably one of the Bianconeri’s worst campaigns in their illustrious history. A season which started with so much promise, ended with disappointment. The objective was fourth place and the foundations to attain the objective were laid down with the summer campaign. Juve were well and truly on track but come the turn of the year and that game against Parma, it all went downward.
An indepth analysis of Juve’s season can be found here.
‘Fall From Grace’ Of The Season
From Champions League qualifying round to Serie B, all in the space of twelve months is what Sampdoria fans have had to endure. Much of the blame has been heaped on President Riccardo Garrone’s shoulders who sold the attacking duo of Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini which prompted their free-fall into Serie B. In the game against Palermo, Sampdoria were officially relegated and what followed was perhaps one of the most moving scenes in Serie A this season. Captain Angelo Palombo drowned himself in tears and begged for forgiveness from the Sampdoria fans.
Surprise Package Of The Season
Having lost their first four games in the league, few would have predicted the kind of run Udinese would embark upon. Under the tutelage of Francesco Guidolin, the Bianconeri have done the unthinkable and secured a place in the qualifying round of next season’s Champions League. A target which seemed unachievable since the club were relegation contenders last season. Led by the devastating duo of Alexis Sanchez and Toto Di Natale, Udinese have surpassed all expectations and have entertained Calcio with their beautiful brand of football. They will now face a struggle to hold on to their valuable assets.
‘Zamparini’ Moment Of The Season
There’s probably no president in Italy right now more renowned for his statements than Maurizio Zamparini. Known for his eccentric comments and controversial decisions, Zamparini is never one to shy away. In late February following the calamitous defeat to Udinese, Zampa sacked Delio Rossi and replaced him with Serse Cosmi. A month later following the insulting loss to Catania in the Sicilian derby, Cosmi was dismissed and Zamparini rehired Delio Rossi. Zampa apparently had instructed Cosmi before the game, that if he failed to start playmaker Javier Pastore against Catania, he would release him. True to his word, Zampa did fire Cosmi after the latter started Pastore on the bench.
Punch Bag Of The Season
Marco Rossi (Bari)
Newspaper Headline Of The Season
Gazzetta Dello Sport made an acute observation –
“Serie A is a tournament in which many teams compete and in the end Zlatan Ibrahimovic wins”
TuttoSport conjured up a witty headline in the aftermath of Vincenzo Iaquinta’s season ending injury –
Revenge Of The Season
Sebastian Giovinco (Parma)
Deemed to have been ‘surplus to requirements’, Giovinco left the Bianconeri to join Parma in the summer on loan. He came back clearly motivated to haunt his side twice this season. In Turin, he scored twice in Juve’s humiliating 4-1 defeat to Parma which triggered their downfall in Serie A. While at the Tardini, Giovinco scored the winner with a wonderful goal to pile on even more misery to the Turin giants.
Summer Signing Of The Season
Edinson Cavani (Napoli)
Winter Signing Of The Season
Alessandro Matri (Juventus)
Matri’s signing from Cagliari has been one of the few bright points for Juve this year. The Italian International has hit the back of the net 9 times in 15 games for Juventus, his best individual return. He has more than vindicated his €18M price-tag and Juve should take up their option on him this summer.
Worst Signing Of The Season
The Emperor’s much publicized return to Serie A with Roma was supposed to launch a new chapter in his book. However, his season has been nothing short of a tragedy. Just 5 appearances to his name, Adriano has failed to vindicate Roma’s faith in him. Now back to his homeland, the three time receipent of the ‘Bidone D’oro’ is our flop signing of the season.
Goalkeeper Of The Season
Christian Abbiati (AC Milan)
A wall in goal for the Rossoneri, Abbiati was virtually unbeatable at times. Great reflexes coupled with brilliant positioning skills, the veteran shot-stopper is our number One this season. He also has a marvelous 18 clean sheets this season.
Defender Of The Season
Thiago Silva (AC Milan)
The best defender in the league this season, Thiago Silva has been impeccable at the heart of the Rossoneri defense. Along with Alessandro Nesta, the Brazilian has formed arguably the best centre back pairing in Serie A. Gifted with pace, anticipation and strong in the tackle, Silva is now one of the best in Europe if not the best.
Midfielder Of The Season
The prophet has been one of the best signings in Serie A this season. The missing element in Lazio’s midfield, Hernanes is blessed with technique, skill and creativity. The Brazilian leads the scoring chart for Lazio with a record 11 goals and also has 5 assists. He also has the most amount of shots from outside the penalty box in the league – An irreplaceable asset to the Lazio midfield.
Forward Of The Season
Edinson Cavani (Napoli)
Antonio Di Natale (Udinese) – 28 goals
Serie A Team of The Season