With the New Year well and truly upon us, it’s time to take a trip back to the best performers in Serie A during the 2018 calendar year. The Italian top flight is blessed with a plethora of talented individuals, and here at Football Index, we’ve chosen the cream of the crop and listed them in no particular order.
Mauro Icardi (here)
The Inter striker is a no-brainer for inclusion in the top five stars in the league during 2018. Finishing as joint-top scorer along with Ciro Immobile on 29 strikes at the end of last term, Icardi fired in an incredible 44% of Inter’s total goals during that campaign, a tally that was instrumental in the Nerazzurri reaching the Champions League for the first time since 2011/12.
Demonstrating exactly how lethal he is in the box, the hitman scored a goal for every 1.8 shots on target last season, his rate the best ratio among players with 10 or more goals. He would remain at Inter in the summer in order to begin his first ever Champions League outing, his loyalty paying off by becoming the first ever at the club to score in each of his first three matches in the elite competition.
Fabio Quagliarella (here)
Another striker to feature on the list is 35-year-old Fabio Quagliarella. The Serie A journeyman is truly enjoying his twilight years in the division, scoring 19 league goals for Sampdoria in 2017/18.
The first half of the current campaign has been even better for the former Juve man, his reputation as a pure entertainer consolidated by some stunning strikes. Indeed, as the league paused for its traditional Winter Break, Quagliarella found himself having scored in nine consecutive matches, David Trezeguet the last person to have done so back in 2005.
Kalidou Koulibaly (here)
In a league built upon its reputation for a succession of talented Italian defenders, Senegal international Kalidou Koulibaly has broken the trend thanks to his consistently assured performances in the Napoli backline. Said to be wanted by the likes of Manchester United in the Premier League, Koulibaly has been subject to interest from a number of high-profile clubs, but seems committed to remaining Italy for now at least.
According to reports in the Italian press, the 27-year-old is ready to agree a new contract without a release clause, however, the deal is said to include a verbal agreement that the defender can leave if an offer in excess of £135 million is received. For a defender of this quality, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that someone will be willing to pay.
Joao Cancelo (here)
The Portuguese wing-back spent the first half of the year on loan at Inter, during which he announced his presence in some style. Financial Fair Play restrictions meant that the Nerazzurri could not stump up the cash to bring him in permanently, however, Juventus swooped in to pay the £36.5 million fee that saw him arrive from Valencia on a permanent basis in the summer.
Cancelo completed more dribbles (39) than any other defender during the first half of 2018, as well as creating more chances (33) than any other player in this period and has once again proven his quality since that aforementioned move. At Juventus, he leads the entire league with 2.9 dribbles per match on average and is second only to compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of natural talent in the Juve ranks.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (here)
This was the player that seemingly everyone wanted last summer, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see his name linked with the biggest clubs once again during the January window. With 12 strikes last season, he bagged more goals than any other midfielder, but his game is so much more than this.
Strong, technically gifted and a genuine box-to-box player, it is not difficult to see why he has been so hyped during 2018, and even a dip in form towards the end of the year does not do enough to take this player out of the top five.