Another Serie A season has come to a close, and the 38 rounds showcased great talent to calcio fans all around the world. With that, many young Italian players bursted their way on to the scene this season, and made their names known to Serie A and Azzurri fans quickly. In no specific order, this piece will list five of the top Italian starlets in the Serie A for 2017-2018, and will provide an explanation and analysis of their season.
Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina):
Son of popular footballer Enrico Chiesa, the quick and agile winger had a great full season for La Viola under Stefano Pioli, tallying 6 goals and adding 5 assists. Looking further upon the stats, Chiesa is a player that excites every time he gets a touch on the ball. He has tons of speed, great feet and has the ability to put the ball into the back of the net. His versatility is also a strong aspect of his game, as this season Pioli deployed him as a winger on the left and right side. At only 20 years of age, this past season was his true “breakout” to calcio, as he was one of Fiorentina’s most important players this season, and will be for as long as he stays. In addition, Federico Chiesa made his Azzurri debut in March against Argentina and England, where he won a penalty that tied up the match for the Italian National Team against England, which resulted in a 1-1 draw. After Federico Bernardeschi left Firenze last summer to join Juventus, you have to think Chiesa may depart soon as well, as we know many teams across Europe will be lining up to acquire his services in the summer transfer market starting soon.
Davide Calabria (AC Milan):
The Milan youth academy graduate’s success this season came at the expense of Andrea Conti’s unlucky and injury riddled season, tearing his ACL which kept him out for the majority, and injuring his knee while in the midst of returning to action in March. The appointment of Gennaro Gattuso has sparked Calabria’s career, as he’s slowly developing into a great full-back that the Rossoneri can trust. This season he reached 50 Serie A appearances for the club, provided 3 assists and scored his first career goal, which was a crucial one to seal a victory against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico, chipping Alisson Becker. Calabria was a crucial player especially in the 2nd half of the season, where Gattuso’s team only lost two of the 19 games. He’s still only 21 years old, but he will hopefully continue to develop alongside Andrea Conti.
Filippo Romagna (Cagliari):
The 20-year-old central defender was apart of Juventus’s academy, loaned out several times to the likes of Novara and Brescia, but was officially sold to Cagliari last summer, since there was no room for him in the squad of the Italian champions. In his first full season with the side from Sardinia, Romagna was a very important player for them, playing a large role in helping the team to avoid relegation and stay in the top flight of calcio for another season. In nearly 2000 Serie A minutes, Romagna did not receive a yellow or red card, which is pretty impressive when you are playing the likes of Juventus, Napoli, Inter, Roma, Lazio and Milan all twice throughout the season, and since Cagliari were a side battling relegation every round. Romagna is the youngest of the up and coming Italian defenders, which include the likes of Alessio Romagnoli, Daniele Rugani and Mattia Caldara, who are all 3-4 years older than him. He has a bright future and will get the game time he needs ay Cagliari, before making a big move one day.
Nicolò Barella (Cagliari):
A teammate of Romagna, the 21-year-old enjoyed a stellar season in Sardinia, scoring 6 goals and adding an assist as a midfielder. Barella is a consistent starter for Cagliari, and has began his development into a midfielder that gets on the other team’s nerves, wins the ball often and loves a tackle, with a knack for finishing and scoring goals. The only downside I would pick out is his size, as he is only 5 foot 9, however he plays bigger than he is, naturally. Discipline is a big issue for him as he does receive his fair share of yellow cards, which can hopefully be tidied up as he grows older and more mature on the field. He has the tools of a complete midfielder; Barella can win the ball through a tackle, beat a defender and play a long pass to a forward player or take a shot at goal, at such a young age he certainly does not lack confidence in his abilities.
Patrick Cutrone (AC Milan):
Last but certainly not least, Patrick Cutrone of the Rossoneri, had a fantastic debut season in the Serie A, in addition to the Europa League and Coppa Italia. In 17 Serie A starts, Cutrone scored 10 goals for Milan, some coming against the likes of Roma, Lazio and Fiorentina as well. The classic number 9 centre-forward bursted onto the scene last summer in the International Champions Cup, and continued to prove his worth throughout the season by keeping new signings Nikola Kalinic and André Silva mostly on the bench, as Vincenzo Montella and Gennaro Gattuso had no choice but to choose the young bomber, as he was more often than not carrying the “hot hand.” Cutrone’s play style has been compared similar to Pippo Inzaghi’s, as both didn’t have the most talent or technical ability on the ball, but their intelligence, positioning and eye for goal makes them great. The 20-year-old scored different kinds of goals this season, with his head, and both feet. He was also the first striker to score 10 goals in their first professional year in Serie A in 60 years, an extremely impressive feat. His form and brilliance this season earned him an Azzurri call-up and debut against Argentina back in March, as he will play for the U-21 National Team to prep him for the big stage in the coming years.
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