Serie A’s Best Fantasy Youngsters of the Year

Gianluigi Donnarumma (36 points): it may seem odd to somebody, but yes, Donnarumma is still a youngster as he is just 21, which is a little mind-blowing since he has been around for few years now. He finished fifth for points among goalkeepers, behind veterans Samir Handanovic (63) and Wojciech Szczesny (50) and then Thomas Strakosha and Juan Musso, who picked up 49 and 37 points respectively and are four and five years older. A very solid campaign for Milan’s bulwark who, as always, produced some monster performances, avoided glaring blunders, picked up 13 clean sheets (tied for second in the League, one shy of the leader Musso) and parried away four penalty kicks, the most by anybody. The Rossoneri better hurry up in the negotiation to extend his contract and lock him up long-term.

Nikola Milenkovic (47 points): technically the nod should go to another Milan player, Theo Hernandez, who amassed two more points, but he made the Team of the Year, so, in the young awards, the shout-out goes to the next in line. Milenkovic had a superb campaign and in particular shined in the resumption and looked very comfortable in Giuseppe Iachini’s three-man defence, as the role of right centre-back suits him perfectly. His seasonal haul was helped by the fact that he was a threat on offense as well, since he found the target five teams, mostly through headers. He has deservedly drawn some interest in the transfer market and you have to wonder for how long Fiorentina will be able to hold onto him.

Dejan Kulusevki (63 points): he was the recipient of the official award for youngster of the year handed out by the League and there was really no other choice, as the rookie, groomed by Atalanta, had a devastating impact at Parma, where he won the starting job during the summer and quickly became the main playmaker of the team. A wizard on counter-attacks, he found the right partners in Andreas Cornelius and especially Gervinho. A willing passer, he showed great vision and touch, which allowed him to tally nine assists. But he does not shy away from finishing on his own and as a matter of fact he hit the net ten times, including some gems with his velvety left foot. Juventus should find a way to feature him heavily in the upcoming season.

Lautaro Martinez (51 points): like Milenkovic, he is on the fringes of still being considered young, as he is 22, and it is tough for spring chickens to break out in Serie A. El Toro progressed in the upward trajectory he began last season, had a career year scoring-wise, as he posted 14 goals in Serie A, beating also his Racing Club numbers. He assembled a formidable couple with Romelu Lukaku, which helped both, and was at times absolutely electric, taking advantage of his well-rounded skill-set. He is not the tallest and biggest striker, but he still makes his presence felt both physically and in the air. On top of that, he is hard to tackle when he starts waltzing, he can zoom past most defenders and he is strong shooter when he takes aim. The Barcelona buzz will not go away, but the Nerazzurri will do whatever they can to keep him.

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