Bonucci, Mertens and Belotti make our 2016/17 Serie A Team of the Season


With a huge number of quality players to choose from, picking a Serie A Team of the Season is always a tough task and this year has been no different as a large number of players had superb campaigns, even in some of Italy’s struggling sides.

To make this task even more difficult, we have limited the selection to just one player per club, ruling out the possibility of one team dominating the choices. Lining up in the 4-2-3-1 formation that helped Juventus win the title, let us know if you agree with the team we have picked.

 

Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan)

While questions continue about what his future may hold, there is little doubt that Gianluigi Donnarumma is blossoming into a fantastic goalkeeper before our eyes. The Milan star made some superb saves throughout 2016/17 and regularly saved his team on numerous occasions.

Recording 12 clean sheets despite the side around him not being as talented as Donnarumma, he will be vital to their resurgence as the new Chinese owners begin to rebuild the Rossoneri.

 

Andrea Conti (Atalanta)

Right-back Andrea Conti was a major part of Atalanta's surprising rise to prominence. The 23-year-old recorded averages of two tackles and 2.3 interceptions per game, while weighing in with eight goals and five assists as he provided a constant threat down the flank.

His name has been linked with some of the continent's biggest clubs, but La Dea will hope he stays to enjoy playing in the Europa League with the Bergamaschi.

 

Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)

Now perhaps arguably the best central defender in the world, Leonardo Bonucci was the one constant in a rapidly shifting Juve backline this term, almost always in the starting XI while Coach Max Allegri rotated the other players around him.

The 30-year-old was imperious, reading the game well and making vital interventions before stepping forward to showcase his excellent distribution. Bonucci connected with a team-high 65.1 passes per game, while weighing in with five goals, making him a crucial figure at both ends of the pitch.

 

Stefan De Vrij (Lazio)

Like Conti, Stefan De Vrij helped his club to a surprisingly high league position and made himself a wanted man on the transfer market. The Dutch international was a vital part of the Lazio side that eventually finished in fifth place, averaging 1.9 tackles, 2.2 interceptions and 4.1 clearances per game as he finally managed to stay healthy after struggling with injuries over the past two seasons.

 

Manuel Pasqual (Empoli)

Dumped by Fiorentina last summer, veteran left-back Manuel Pasqual moved to local rivals Empoli and enjoyed a fine campaign, although it was sadly not enough to keep the Tuscan side in Serie A. Despite being relegated on the final day, the 35-year-old was a reliable experienced figure in a team that will need such men if they are to return to the top flight any time soon.

 

Roberto Gagliardini (Inter)

At the start of the season, Roberto Gagliardini was a peripheral figure in the Atalanta squad, but by the final game he was a regular for Inter. Along the way he broke into the first team in Bergamo, was subject to a big-money January transfer and became an Italian international who can realistically expect to be playing at the World Cup next summer.

His drive and energy made him the box-to-box midfielder Inter so sorely needed, and despite another disappointing campaign for the Nerazzurri, the presence of players like Gagliardini mean the future looks much brighter.

 

Radja Nainggolan (AS Roma)

Given the incredible rate Edin Dzeko scored at this term it was hard to make anyone else the Roma choice for this XI, but there should be no doubt that Radja Nainggolan was the club’s best player this season. Giving the team a combative edge that it otherwise lacks, his qualities are obvious every time he steps on the field, and he was responsible for many of the chances that fell to those around him.

 

Dries Mertens (Napoli)

Arguably the best player in Serie A this term, Dries Mertens – despite being a 5’ 7” winger – was certainly the league’s most devastating centre forward. Maurizio Sarri was forced to deploy him there after Gonzalo Higuain left for Juve, Arkadiusz Milik blew out his knee and Manolo Gabbiadini proved ineffective, but the Belgian filled in perfectly.

Using his pace to get behind opposition defences, he never let his small stature be a hinderance, bagging 28 goals to go with his nine assists.

 

Patrik Schick (Sampdoria)

The find of the year, Sampdoria’s Patrik Schick earned a reputation as a super sub as 18 of his 32 appearances have come from the bench, but so too have six of his 11-goal haul. The Genoa-based club are pushing to tie him down to a new contract, but their current deal contains a 25million buyout fee that makes him an even more attractive prospect for a large number of clubs this summer.

 

Federico Bernardeschi (Fiorentina)

A bright spot in an otherwise forgettable campaign for Fiorentina, Federico Bernardeschi continues to emerge as one of Italian football’s brightest talents. After Paulo Sousa finally stopped forcing him to play as a wing-back, the 23-year-old delivered vastly improved performances, weighing in with 11 goals and five assists while thriving in an array of attacking positions.

 

Andrea Belotti (Torino)

His impact was unquestionably overshadowed by the presence of Joe Hart at Torino, but Andrea Belotti was superb throughout 2016/17. Yes Dzeko scored more goals – 29 to 26 – but take a moment to acknowledge that playing in a much worse side, the Italian striker took a staggering 48 fewer shots to reach his total.

Blending pace, power and a wonderful work ethic, Belotti is the kind of striker most big clubs crave, but his €100 million buyout clause means that only the very best can afford to pursue him.