The 10 Best Youngsters In Serie A Revisited
Back at the end of October, I assembled a list of the top youngsters playing their club football in Serie A. There was a lot of debate of who should be the best and who was excluded. Because of that, I felt like five months later was a good amount of time to update the list.
Some new faces have appeared and some have fallen off. No matter how you feel, this list is to show that Serie A is still producing incredible young talent.
This is a list, in no particular order, of the 10 best players who play club football in Italy.
Let the debating begin!
Sebastian Giovinco, midfielder/forward, Juventus
The Juve faithful are starting to see the tiny playmaker come into his own in recent weeks after struggling to get playing time in the first half of the season.
Despite being the shortest player on the field every week, The Atomic Ant is blessed with incredible speed and skill.
His performance in the second leg of Juve's Champions League against Chelsea was fantastic, and his efforts against Bologna were spectacular and should be a clear sign to the Juventus management that he is a building block for the future.
The only problem that remains to be seen is whether Juve manager Claudio Ranieri will keep the little man with big talent in the lineup on a consistent basis.
Claudio Marchisio, midfielder, Juventus
With every game that passes, the talented 23-year-old midfielder and Turin native just seems to get better. He has seen his season go from injury fill-in to regular starter as the months have passed.
His game might not be as flashy or as highly-publicized as others on this list, but he certainly has put himself on the map with his performance this season.
Marchisio seems to up his game when the game holds more importance. He held his own in the Champions League this year, was Juve's engine in their 4-2 victory over AC Milan in December, and has also had both his goals this year be game-winners.
Riccardo Montolivo, midfielder, Fiorentina
A much more offensive-minded midfielder than Marchisio, Montolivo has the ability to play out wide and in the center. When he has everything going, he can combine his rocket for a shot and silky smooth tricks that have seen him move up the Serie A talent ladder in just a few short years.
Not only does he score goals of his own, he has help setting up two of Italy's most dangerous strikers, Adrian Mutu and Alberto Gilardino.
He has already become one of Marcelo Lippi's go-to picks when La Nazionale come calling and is certainly one of the future pieces for the future of Italy. He also played in this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing, scoring one goal in five games.
Davide Santon, defender, Inter Milan
Santon wasn't even on the radar back at the end of October when the first list was put together, and now he is looked at as one of the future stars on Inter and the Italian national team.
The fantastic start to his career has drawn comparisons to another left back who plays in Milan that you may have heard of: AC Milan's Paolo Maldini.
Receiving his debut call-up just two months ago, Santon has hardly looked like a player who is barely 18-years-old. He is cool under pressure and nowhere close to being the outspoken teenager that fellow 18-year-old and teammate Mario Balotelli is.
Mario Balotelli, striker, Inter Milan
There's no doubting that Super Mario has big-time ability; just look at his goal against in his U-21 debut against Israel as Exhibit A.
However, there's no doubting that Super Mario also has a big-time ego. His heavily-publicized battle with Inter manager Jose Mourinho seems to be over for now, but knowing how outspoken both of them are, this probably won't be the last of it.
Balotelli has gone from potential star to begin the season to being banished to the stands just a few short weeks into the season, then it was down to play with Inter's Primavera side, and now he's back in the starting lineup.
Marek Hamšík, midfielder, Napoli
Hamšík has proved that lightning doesn't strike once in Naples.
After a stellar debut campaign last season, the 21-year-old Slovakian has done nothing to hurt the comparisons that he has earned the past year and a half.
His efforts the past two seasons has drawn interest from some of Europe's top sides, but Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis has stated on more than one occasion that he has no reason to sell his talented midfielder.
Fabiano Santacroce, defender, Napoli
A teammate of Hamšík's at Serie B side Brescia and now flourishing like his Slovakian partner at Napoli.
In the final months of 2008, the 22-year-old center back, who can also play on either wing, earned his first call-up to the Italian senior squad for 2010 World Cup Qualifiers against Bulgaria and Montenegro. He also still plays for Italy's under-21 team when he doesn't get the call from Marcelo Lippi.
Much like Hamšík, he has been linked to some of Europe's biggest teams, but also like Hamšík, there is no plan to part with the talented defender any time soon.
Eziquiel Lavezzi, striker, Napoli
He probably was the MVP of Serie A in the first two months of the season as Napoli was on top of the table and one of the biggest surprises of the early season.
However, things haven't come easy for Lavezzi and his Napoli teammates as of late, and they have crashed down the table and just recently replaced manager Eddy Reja with former Italy boss Roberto Donadoni.
Despite his recent struggles, Lavezzi is certainly a key piece to the puzzle, along with Hamšík and Santacroce.
Simon Kjaer, defender, Palermo
Not many teenage defenders have a big effect on their team early in their careers, but this is the second one on the list.
The big 19-year-old Dane got his debut just days before the first list came out, scored his first Serie A goal just two games later, and is now a fixture in the center of Palermo's defense.
Kjaer's big-time potential and fantastic debut season led to a call-up from the Danish national team in February and, like a lot of young players who have burst on to the scene, his name has been linked to some of Europe's biggest clubs.
Alexandre Pato, striker, AC Milan
Pato has probably had the best season out of anybody on this list and has seriously come into his own after struggling to find a regular place in the Milan lineup to start the season.
Not only is he Milan's top scorer, but also one of Italy's top scorers at just 19 years of age. His goal-to-games played rate is simply sensational: one goal for every two games played.
He is certainly the present and future for Milan and, on a team full of veterans, he is standing out despite having nowhere near the same amount of experience as some of the others in Carlo Ancelotti's starting squad.
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