As the year draws to a close, we decided to take a look back at 2015 in Serie A, and provide you with details of those individuals who we think deserve special mention.
There was only really one obvious candidate for Coach of 2015 – step forward Massimiliano Allegri. The Juventus coach almost guided the Bianconeri to an unprecedented treble of Scudetto, Coppa Italia and UEFA Champions League. His efforts thwarted in the final by a Barcelona team boasting the most prolific forward line that club football has ever seen.
Honourable mentions must go to Sassuolo coach, Eusebio Di Francesco, who continues to shine, and also the likes of Maurizio Sarri and Paulo Sousa who will be hoping that the first half of the 2015/2016 season are a sign of things to come for Napoli and Fiorentina respectively.
Best Value Signing
There were several candidates for this category, although based on his goals in the first half of the season, Fiorentina’s Nikola Kalinic takes the award. Kalinic joined Fiorentina in the summer transfer window for 5.5million Euros from Dnipro, having impressed in their Europa League run last season. Without his performances and goals, there is little doubt that Fiorentina would not be sitting second in Serie A.
Other candidates include Jeison Murillo who, at 8million Euros, has proved to be an astute signing by Roberto Mancini’s Inter. Murillo has formed an outstanding partnership with Miranda, and is already attracting admiring glances from Barcelona, Real Madrid and several Premier League clubs, including Liverpool.
Napoli had several candidates for this award, including Pepe Reina and Allan. Reina has excelled since returning to the San Paolo from Bayern Munich in the summer, and has been a pivotal part in Napoli’s push for the Scudetto and Europa League. Since signing from Udinese, Allan has proved to be Napoli’s conductor in midfield and, at 10million Euros, represented outstanding value for money.
If the title is to return to Naples for the first time since the days of Diego Maradona, then Reina and Allan are likely to be just as important as the likes of Gonazlo Higuain and Khadou Koulibaly.
It was very hard to whittle down the many great goals scored in Serie A this season, although we have tried our best. After much consideration, the winner is the goal scored by Marco Benassi for Torino against Palermo back in September. The goal brought comparisons with Marco Van Basten’s volley for The Netherlands in Euro 1988.
Other candidates included Andrea Pirlo’s free-kick for Juventus against Torino in April, whilst Mauricio Pinilla received several nominations for his fantastic bicycle kicks for Atalanta against Sassuolo in September, against Cagliari in February and against Torino in April. If there were an award for cumulative outstanding goals, Pinilla would be the undoubted clear winner.
An honourable mention must also go to the goal scored by Andrea Florenzi for Roma against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League group game.
Worst value signing
Whilst it is not usually the intention of us here are Italian Football Daily to belittle players, there have been several high value signings in 2015 who we felt have failed to perform.
As things stand, and although it is early days in his Serie A career, the undoubted winner of this category has been Geoffrey Kondogbia. Inter beat off competition from several Serie A and Premier League clubs to sign the French international from Monaco in the summer, although he came at a considerable price, 35million Euros to be precise. His performances to date have been little short of woeful, and he has much work to do in the second half of the season to justify his price tag.
There were several other players who came into this category, including Mario Suarez of Fiorentina, Luiz Adriano of Milan and Edin Dzeko of Roma. All have failed to live up to the expectations made of them when they arrived in Serie A in the summer.
Do you agree with our award winners? If not, let us know.