Top 10 Serie A players to look out for in 2011
‘Fantantonio’ looked to have finally settled down at Sampdoria, but a bust-up with chairman Riccardo Garrone over attending an awards ceremony meant he was forced out of the Genovese club. The move to AC Milan is most likely the attacker’s last chance to achieve greatness. Whether through his unquestionable footballing ability or his temper tantrums, Cassano will be guaranteed entertainment for 2011.
9. Andrea Ranocchia – Inter Milan
The list’s token defender, Ranocchia has shown more than just potential for Genoa, resulting in a deserved £12.5m move to Inter. How the 22 year-old performs in Inter’s aging back line could determine whether or not he keeps his status as the future of the Azzuri defence.
8. Jeremy Menez – AS Roma
The Frenchman started last year poorly, but by the end of it had become a key player for Roma. His quick pace and improved technique allowed him to beat players with ease. Menez ending the year by setting up the winner against Milan and will be looking to start this year in the same vein.
7. Alberto Aquilani – Juventus
Dumped by Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson after an indifferent debut season on Merseyside, Aquilani has looked like the creative spark Liverpool are missing. Forging a strong partnership with Brazilian enforcer Felipe Melo, the loanee has added the balance and imagination that was too often missing from Juventus the previous year.
6. Samuel Eto’o – Inter Milan
A rare positive from the start of this season for Inter. Having been pushed into a more defensive role under Jose Mourinho, the Cameroonian forward already has 19 goals this season after a switching of roles by Rafa Benitez. How will Leonardo use him?
5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – AC Milan
Moved on from Barcelona for showing his moodiness and arrogance more than his talent, Zlatan’s had no such problems in Milan. The phrase “good touch for a big man” doesn’t come close to doing the Swede justice. Sit back and enjoy him.
4. Milos Krasic – Juventus
Those Pavel Nedved comparisons don’t look quite so lazy now, the Serb’s got the talent to match the looks. Nedved won the Ballon d’Or at Juve, what can Krasic do?
3. Wesley Sneijder – Inter Milan
After winning a treble with Inter and making it to a World Cup final, it remains astounding how the Dutchman didn’t make it into the Ballon d’Or’s last three. However, the end of the year saw him struggling after being diagnosed with anaemia. He’s got the talent, but how will Sneijder go into the new year?
The main man behind Lazio’s revival this season. The young Brazilian playmaker will need to keep up his form if the capital club are going to keep up their title challenge.
1. Javier Pastore – Palermo
Like Hernanes, the Argentinian trequartista is blessed with beautiful technique and an intelligence beyond his years. It remains to be seen whether he can drag a young Palermo side to match their fifth place finish from last year, but we wouldn’t put it past him based on his performances so far.