The 20 Best Players in Italy's Serie A Right Now

Jack Alexandros Rathborn@@jackrathbornContributor IIIDecember 12, 2012

The 20 Best Players in Italy's Serie A Right Now

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    Serie A has been in the doldrums over the last decade as it contended with the Calciopoli scandal and the emergence of the super powers that are the Premier League and La Liga.

    It is gradually rising again though and is a brilliant place to watch your football as it produces and makes some of the best players in the world.

    It offers a combination of many styles and has always been regarded as one of the toughest leagues in the world to adjust to.

    Here are the 20 best players in the world, do you agree? If not, who makes your list? And who doesn't from mine?

    Thanks for reading.

20. Alejandro Gomez, Catania

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    Catania–despite losing Vincenzo Montella to Fiorentina this summer–are one of the most underrated sides in the league.

    With a panache and verve to the way they play the game combined with a conveyor belt of Latin American talent, the Elefanti are always worth watching.

    Alejandro Gomez is maybe not one of Serie A's most famous players to the wider football world, but the Argentine is a cracking little player, capable of winning a game on his own.

    Gomez, who operates from the left, is a sensational dribbler and is able to combine well with his team as he coasts into the central areas.

    Similar to Ezequiel Lavezzi in the way he moves inside with the drop of a shoulder, he is probably a more clinical finisher than his compatriot.

    Keep an eye on the 24-year-old, as he is destined for big things soon.

19. Alessandro Diamanti, Bologna

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    Alessandro Diamanti is something of a late bloomer, having never been as settled with his football as he is right now with Bologna.

    After never settling at West Ham, Bologna built their side around the enigmatic 29-year-old and his form forced his way into the Italy squad for Euro 2012.

    Diamanti tends to only get himself up for the biggest games and Bologna's style under Stefano Pioli allows him to dictate the play from deep and bring the ball forward with his terrific dribbles.

    One of the most lethal dead ball specialists in Europe too.

18. Borja Valero, Fiorentina

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    Borja Valero has shone since arriving in Florence.

    The Spaniard is perfectly at home in Vincenzo Montella's expansive style, which allows him to spray passes long and short.

    With a good engine and an underrated athleticism to go with his exceptional technical skills harnessed in La Liga, Valero is perfect for Italian football.

17. Rodrigo Palacio, Inter Milan

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    Rodrigo Palacio is a seasoned Serie A player, having spent three seasons with Genoa before his big move to Inter last summer.

    The Argentine is a tremendously versatile forward who can adapt to any system, as has been the case under Andrea Stramaccioni's tactical variety.

    Palacio's teammate Diego Milito might score the most for the Nerazzurri, but Palacio provides wonderful creativity to the side, as does Antonio Cassano. However, the former Boca star gives a willingness to carry the ball with his close control and dribbling.

16. Giorgio Chiellini, Juventus

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    Giorgio Chiellini's reputation is maybe the greatest of any Serie A defender and he is still an imperious performer for the Bianconeri, who are entering a great period in the club's history.

    The Italian international is tenacious in the tackle and admired for his desire and commitment. Certainly Chiellini is a player that any fan would like on their team.

15. Kwadwo Asamoah, Juventus

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    Kwadwo Asamoah has hit the ground running with Juventus since moving from Udinese.

    Transformed from a powerful box-to-box centre-midfielder, Asamoah has adapted to his new role wide on the left to devastating effect.

    Perhaps the most athletic player in Serie A, his pace, power and directness make him an automatic pick for the Bianconeri already.

14. David Pizarro, Fiorentina

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    A wildly underrated player who was not signed permanently after his loan to Manchester City in the summer.

    Instead, the Chilean moved to Fiorentina under the new Montella project and it has proved to be a wise decision.

    David Pizarro's passing ability and tendency to dictate the tempo of a game makes him comparable to Andrea Pirlo.

    Without many physical gifts to call upon, Pizarro relies on his anticipation and ability to read the game. 

13. Gianluigi Buffon, Juventus

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    Gianluigi Buffon is still one of the world's best goalkeepers.

    It's that simple, really. Juve might not depend on him as much as before, thanks to their water tight defense, but Buffon can still be responsible for a handful of points in a season.

    He is physically dominant when commanding his area and able to become one of the great leaders of the modern game.

12. Samir Handanovic, Inter Milan

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    It almost feels wrong that I have brought myself to place a goalkeeper above the great Gianluigi Buffon, but if there was to be one, Samir Handanovic is the obvious candidate.

    It could be argued that he has more opportunity to show off his skills at Inter than he might be able to do at Juve, but that doesn't change the fact that it was an extremely wise decision to ship Julio Cesar onto QPR this summer and bring in the former Udinese keeper.

    One of the best shot stoppers in the world and with his huge frame to dominant the penalty area means he could be considered the best goalkeeper in the world right now.

11. Erik Lamela, Roma

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    The Argentine is blossoming under Zdenek Zeman, adding goals to his game to become one of the best attacking midfielders in European football.

    The 20-year-old's attitude seems to have always held him back, but he is now working hard for the team and is able to really hurt the opposition from wide areas.

    Very intelligent movement to ghost into the area undetected has become a trademark of his game this season and Lamela's career has finally taken off.

10. Leonardo Bonucci, Juventus

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    Leonardo Bonucci is maturing into the best defender in world football.

    People might scoff at this remark, but the Bianconeri centre-back is tough and domineering in one-on-one battles, but has the technique and quality on the ball to elevate his game above anybody's in Europe.

    Bonucci loves to drive forward in possession and has a great range of passing too, so Juve's progress in the Champions League will be the final stage of his progression into a world class defender.

9. Hernanes, Lazio

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    Hernanes is single-handedly elevating Lazio to become a contender for the Champions League.

    The Brazilian vision and ability to work in time and space in the midfield means that he can release the likes of Antonio Candreva from deep areas and ensure Lazio are a threat on the counter attack.

    The former São Paulo star is also adept at unhinging any defense in and around the penalty area, which brings Miroslav Klose into play.

    A seriously good midfielder in the same vain as Wesley Sneijder, he could join one of Europe's biggest clubs down the line due to his game's apparent longevity.

8. Claudio Marchisio, Juventus

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    Claudio Marchisio is not as heralded as he might be, due to being surrounded by other world class midfielders at Juventus.

    But the Bianconeri midfielder provides it all for Antonio Conte's side; energy, drive, tenacity and guile in possession.

    Marchisio's intelligence on the ball ensures he can switch between a defensive or attacking role in Conte's system.

7. Marek Hamsik, Napoli

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    Marek Hamsik is adored by the Napoli faithful and it's not hard to see why.

    Aside from his brilliant hair, the Slovakian offers leadership and commitment to go with his excellent technical ability and canny knack for popping up with crucial goals.

    Without Ezequiel Lavezzi, who departed to PSG this summer, Hamsik had to elevate his game to the next level, and he has duly done so.

6. Stephan El Shaarawy, Milan

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    Stephan El Shaarawy has basically saved Milan's season after the Rossoneri relinquished two of the best players in the world last summer.

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva departed and many wondered where the replacements were, but Il Faraone stepped up from nowhere to grab his chance on the first team.

    Already the leading candidate to be the league's capocannoniere, El Shaarawy is deadly when afforded the opportunity to dribble inside from his favored left wing role.

    At 20 years old, the potential is monstrous and the partnership with Mario Balotelli for the Azzurri is something that could ignite world football.

5. Arturo Vidal, Juventus

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    Arturo Vidal, for my mind, is the most complete centre-midfielder in world football.

    El Guerrero is a monster in the middle of the park for the Bianconeri, buzzing around and intercepting the opposition for fun.

    The Chilean is powerful and direct when the ball is at his feet, and he can use it productively too. Pass and move is a big facet of his game, which allows him to pop up in the penalty area so often to score simple goals.

    A real team player too, capable of shadowing his teammates to cover for them when out of position.

    Vidal is the real deal and it's going to be fascinating to observe his influence against the very best that the Champions League has to offer.

4. Stevan Jovetic, Fiorentina

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    Stevan Jovetic is probably the best young talent in Serie A right now.

    The Montenegrin has finally been handed a worthy supporting cast at the Viola to help bring out the best in him.

    Jojo, while not an out-and-out striker, has a prolific strike ratio of late, which makes him an even more valuable asset when you consider his other skills.

    Creative, lively off the ball and with a silky touch and control, Jovetic is a phenomenal player who could turn Fiorentina from relegation candidates to scudetto challengers in the near future.

3. Edinson Cavani, Napoli

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    Edinson Cavani has been amazing since his move from Palermo to Napoli, bagging 60 goals in just 83 games with the Partenopei.

    El Matador is not somebody that Serie A fans are aware of, but the Uruguayan has been linked with a host of Europe's biggest clubs with astronomical prices being talked about.

    Deadly in front of goal and willing to work hard for the side, Cavani endears himself to many with his no-nonsense approach to putting the ball in the back of the net.

    Serie A fans, enjoy him while he's here.

2. Francesco Totti, Roma

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    Francesco Totti, who'd have thought it?

    I mean, this is a player entering the twilight of his all-time great career, who has nothing to prove, but is continuing to defy logic by playing the best he has for nearly five years.

    Zdenek Zeman's philosophy is based on athletes, running and work rate. These things don't immediately spring to mind when you talk about a 36-year-old Totti.

    But amazingly Totti has taken a shine to the Czech manager, flourishing in his wide left role and offering a source of goals and creativity when linking with Pablo Osvaldo through the middle.

    Maybe the greatest player to ever play in Serie A, after more than 20 years, he is still producing world class displays.

1. Andrea Pirlo, Juventus

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    Andrea Pirlo's majestic approach to the game is a pleasure to behold.

    In one of the best sides in Europe, and a candidate for the Champions League, Pirlo is still able to impose himself and ensure that the Bianconeri's extensive talent is gelled together.

    When he is on it, Juve can beat anybody, thanks to his vision and imagination when passing the ball. Juventus players know that they can trust Pirlo to make the right choice, a truly undervalued skill.

    Pirlo is like a fine wine, he just keeps getting better, and Serie A is all the better because of him.