Let's talk it out: Choosing the Serie A Team of the Season

Claudio Villa

Another Serie A season is in the books, but who stood out the most? Let's take a look.

Four of SB Nation Italia's esteemed reporters sat down after the final league fixtures to thrash out their first choice XI of the season. Alongside myself, I'm joined by fellow contributors Jack Sargeant, Iain Cannell and Managing Editor Kirsten Schlewitz.

Goalkeeper

Samir Handanovic (Inter Milan)

"Pretty much the only Inter player to come out of the season with any credit despite playing behind a joke of a defence, and one of the only first teamers not to view the inside of an ambulance at any point." - Iain Cannell

"Would Inter even be in the top half of the table without him?" - Jack Sargeant

Defenders

Marquinhos (AS Roma)

"The revelation of the season. Calm, composed, positionally aware, good in the air and strong in the tackle. All this and only 19." - Iain Cannell

"He actually tried to defend during the Zeman era. For that alone, he should be commended. Plus, Barcelona are now showing a serious interest." - Shaun Best

Andrea Barzagli (Juventus)

"The rock of the Bianconeri defence and he picked up the slack during Chiellini's absence." - Shaun Best

"I went for Barzagli over Chiellini just because Giorgio had a few injury layoffs." - Iain Cannell

Davide Astori (Cagliari)

"Despite being homeless for a lot of the year, Cagliari put together one of their best seasons in recent memory and Astori was the most solid and consistent member of their side." - Iain Cannell

"He's been a big reason for Cagliari's 11th placed finish and is now a regular in the International setup." - Shaun Best

Midfielders

Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina)

"Showed signs of promise at Lecce last season, but nothing to suggest he'd develop this far. A thoroughly versatile player who has been tearing apart right-backs for fun, I'm not sure I enjoy watching anyone in Serie A more." - Jack Sargeant

"Defenders see this man in their nightmares and wake up screaming in terror. His dribbling skills enable him to get the ball past almost anyone." - Kirsten Schlewitz

"The best wide man in Serie A this season. Terrified every full back he came up against and had the versatility to slot into both a 4-3-3 and a 3-5-2 with consummate ease." - Iain Cannell

Arturo Vidal (Juventus)

"For me, probably the best player in Serie A this season. Has that destructive ability to win the ball and start an attack, and the energy to get forward and finish them as well. Also a fantastic penalty taker." - Iain Cannell

"He's a dirty player and any side that's not Juventus has every right to hate him, but he'll win the ball and get things moving forward -- including himself." - Kirsten Schlewitz

"God, I really wish he wasn't as good as he is. A true guerrero, he's a nasty piece of work, but an unquestionably valuable one." - Jack Sargeant

Marek Hamsik (Napoli)

"Probably better this season than I've ever seen him before. The outstanding playmaker in Serie A this season, he's understatedly brilliant." - Jack Sargeant

"Edinson Cavani grabs the headlines, but since Ezequiel Lavezzi left for PSG last summer, Marekiaro is finally getting some deserved attention. He's now playing a bit further back, orchestrating the attack and pulling off the perfect pass. With 12 goals and 14 assists in Serie A, it'd be impossible to argue he doesn't deserve a spot in the team of the year." - Kirsten Schlewitz

Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus)

"One of the most underrated left sided players in the league and a real workhorse in the Juventus team. Has enjoyed a great first season in Turin. Udinese's loss has definitely been Juve's gain." - Shaun Best

Forwards

Adem Ljajic (Fiorentina)

"Finally showing his potential after a couple of patchy seasons. The performances and goals have finally started to come. No longer remembered as the guy who Delio Rossi punched." - Shaun Best

"Adem has finally calmed down, put in the effort and earned himself a starting place in the Viola lineup. Eleven goals doesn't tell the whole story. Playing out wide, he's great at getting past the opposition and fantastic with the ball at his feet." - Kirsten Schlewitz

Edinson Cavani (Napoli)

"One word: capocannoniere." - Iain Cannell

"More than just the capocannoniere, probably the most well-rounded forward out there. He's not above tracking back and rescuing Napoli's often shaky defence." - Kirsten Schlewitz

Erik Lamela (AS Roma)

"15 goals from either playing wide or behind the striker was a great return for the Argentine. Wonderfully skilled with bags of pace, a nightmare for any player who had to face him." - Iain Cannell

Substitutes

Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)

"Like a vintage wine, Gigi seems to get better with age." - Shaun Best

Federico Marchetti (Lazio)

"One of the most consistent shotstoppers in Serie A this season. Solid displays between the sticks have seen him leap above Sirigu, Viviano and De Sanctis in the pecking order behind Buffon for the national side." - Shaun Best

Gabriel Paletta (Parma)

"The key player in Parma's great defensive record. Makes up for a lack of pace with great positional play, and is strong in the tackle." - Jack Sargeant

Mehdi Benatia (Udinese)

"Didn't play as often as he would have liked, appearing in only half of the club's games. However, the Moroccan international shored up the Zebrette's rearguard and contributed two goals." - Shaun Best

Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan)

"Already an Italian international after less than a season of Serie A football. A great player on either side of the field, it looks like Milan only had to look within their youth squad to resolve the full-back problem which has tarnished them for so long." - Jack Sargeant

Francesco Lodi (Catania)

"Dangerously renowned from set pieces and he even performed a stint in goal." - Iain Cannell

Hernanes (Lazio)

"The Prophet netted 11 times for the Eagles and brought many a game to life with his trickery." - Shaun Best

Alessio Cerci (Torino)

"Looks a reborn player. Torino were far from the best team but Cerci was routinely their standout man cutting in from the right. Broke into the Azzurri setup as well."- Iain Cannell

Blerim Dzemaili (Napoli)

"Dzei's breakthrough season. It seemed like Gökhan Inler was indispensable in the Napoli midfield, but he's been forced out after a fantastic second half of the season from Blerim. An industrious who's guaranteed to work himself to the bone, seven goals this season is a great return." - Jack Sargeant

Miroslav Klose (Lazio)

"He plays, he scores, sometimes five times in one game. The veteran chipped in with 15 goals. Lazio missed him when he wasn't on the field." - Shaun Best

Mario Balotelli (AC Milan)

"Transformed the Rossoneri's fortunes with 12 goals despite playing just half a season. Takes a cool penalty and is yet to miss from the spot in his professional career." - Shaun Best

Antonio Di Natale (Udinese)

"Just like the energizer bunny, this guy just keeps going and going. Age hasn't slowed Toto down and the goals have kept flowing, all the way into next season's Europa League." - Shaun Best

Coach

Vincenzo Montella (Fiorentina)

"Just look at the season the Viola have had. So agonisingly close to the Champions League, but still an impressive campaign." - Kirsten Schlewitz

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