Serie A End of Season Awards: Best Player, Goal, Young Player and More

Jack Alexandros Rathborn@@jackrathbornContributor IIIMay 21, 2013

Serie A End of Season Awards: Best Player, Goal, Young Player and More

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    It was a thoroughly enjoyable season in Italy that saw Juventus crowned champions once again.

    Edinson Cavani was the league's capocannoniere (highest goalscorer), as El Matador fired Napoli to the Champions League. The Partenopei pushed the Bianconeri for some time in the race for the Scudetto, eventually falling short and making do with the runner-up spot.

    Milan recovered from a catastrophic start to the season, and Massimiliano Allegri withstood massive pressure from the board, as the Italian media convinced that the Rossoneri manager would be fired on numerous occasions.

    The Diavoli had a sensational second half of the season—buoyed by the signing of Mario Balotelli in January—which enabled them to hold off Fiorentina and snag that final Champions League qualifying place.

    It was a disastrous season at the other end of the table for Palermo, who suffered relegation to Serie B along with Siena and Pescara.

    Please join the debate in the comments section below and have your say on who merits the following awards.

Player of the Season: Edinson Cavani, Napoli

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    Edinson Cavani has to be the player of the season.

    There were others who performed at a very high standard, but El Matador was so important to Napoli this season after the Partenopei sold Ezequiel Lavezzi last summer.

    El Pocho was the side's most important player last season, but Cavani took on the added responsibility to lead Napoli to second place in the table.

    The 26-year-old scored a record 29 goals in just 34 matches, an output that has attracted the best teams in Europe to make an inquiry for Napoli's prized asset, with Chelsea the latest team to be strongly linked, according to The Guardian.

    Arturo Vidal was sensational for Juventus, and Antonio Di Natale was as important as ever for Udinese's late charge to claim a Europa League place.

    Fiorentina lessened the burden on Stevan Jovetic this season with outstanding acquisitions such as Juan Cuadrado and Borja Valero, who all contributed equally, while Milan duo Stephan El Shaarawy and Mario Balotelli were superb for a half-season each.

Goal of the Season: Antonio Di Natale

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    There have been plenty of great goals in Italy this season, but this one immediately sprang to mind as my favourite.

    Antonio Di Natale's marvelous strike is as good as it gets. The technique to volley the ball from such a distance and the power generated is astonishing.

    Di Natale has complete control at all times as he concentrates meticulously on the flight of the ball from Roberto Pereyra and is able to arrow the ball inside the far post for yet another sensational goal.

Young Player of the Year: Stephan El Shaarawy, Milan

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    Another category that offered plenty of candidates.

    Erik Lamela and Marquinhos shone for Roma and can claim to be amongst the very best young players in the world at their positions.

    But it boiled down to two outstanding candidates: Stephan El Shaarawy or Paul Pogba.

    I have given it to Il Faraone (The Pharaoh), just. Although I accept that Pogba is a very worthy candidate, Juve's awesome midfield prevented the Frenchman from really making an impact until the second half of the season.

    At the same time, Milan's youngster definitely fatigued towards the end of the season, and his form tailed off.

    But El Shaarawy was more important for Milan than Pogba was for Juventus throughout the season, winning many games on his own when Milan were in such a tailspin.

Signing of the Season: Mario Balotelli, Milan

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    This might not be the most imaginative pick, but when you evaluate how important a signing has been to his team's success, Mario Balotelli sits above everybody else for me.

    Milan signed the the 22-year-old from Manchester City in January for £19 million, and Super Mario has not disappointed since returning to Serie A.

    Balotelli has scored 12 goals in 13 games, which has been the difference between Milan claiming a Champions League spot ahead of Fiorentina.

    The Viola actually made several signings that should be considered for this award, including those of Gonzalo Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado and Borja Valero.

    Roma's young star Marquinhos was their defensive saviour and without him the Giallorossi may have plummeted even more under Zdenek Zeman.

    Inter had a dreadful season under Andrea Stramaccioni, but the signing of Samir Handanovic was a masterstroke from the Nerazzurri, who saved his side countless times after signing from Udinese.

Most Improved Player: Stephan El Shaarawy, Milan

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    Stephan El Shaarawy improved beyond anybody's expectations for Milan this season.

    With the Rossoneri losing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Antonio Cassano, Pippo Inzaghi and Alexandre Pato, Milan needed goals from somewhere.

    It was thought that Giampaolo Pazzini would fill the void, and although Pazzo scored plenty, it was Il Faraone who really stepped up to the plate in key moments.

    From a left-wing berth, El Shaarawy scored 16 times in 30 games and announced himself to the world of football as the next big thing.

    Napoli's Marek Hamsik and Edinson Cavani really stepped up their games to cover for the loss of Ezequiel Lavezzi, while Erik Lamela began to fulfill a bit more of his incredible potential at Roma.

    A less heralded name would be Alessio Cerci, who really dominated for Torino this campaign, chipping in with eight goals and eight assists, which gave him a well-deserved call-up to the Italian national team.