Every Serie A Team's Most Valuable Player

Matteo BonettiContributor IOctober 23, 2013

Every Serie A Team's Most Valuable Player

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    Despite losing out on stars such as Edinson Cavani and Erik Lamela during the Summer, the Serie A is a better league overall this year than it was last season.

    The most beautiful part of the league is its parity throughout the table, as no result is predetermined and even the minnows can take valuable points from one of the giants.

    Here are the most valuable players for every team in Serie A.

Atalanta: German Denis

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    El Tanque Denis bounced around the Serie A before becoming a consistent goal scorer for Bergamo-based side Atalanta.

    The Argentine hitman is a passionate performer who wears his heart on a sleeve. He's very physical and can score in a variety of ways, giving opposing defenses a nightmare around the penalty box.

    So far, German has 31-goals in 66-appearances for La Dea.

Bologna: Alessandro Diamanti

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    Alessandro Diamanti's career began in a way that's even more bizarre than his hair.

    When he was in his early 20s, Diamanti was an unknown semi-pro player. One day while playing a pickup game on the beach, he was discovered by a Livorno scout who invited him for a tryout.

    The rest is history, as he went on to become a successful Serie A player who possesses one of the finest left feet in Europe. He's a set-piece expert who excels at scoring spectacular goals and setting up teammates from his trequartista position.

Cagliari: Davide Astori

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    The former Milan youth defender is a rock at the back for Cagliari, where he has been a consistent performer and was noticed by Cesare Prandelli.

    Now that he's on the fringes of the Italian national team, Astori might want to make a big-club move where he can truly prove his skills on a more continental stage.

Catania: Pablo Barrientos

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    After nearly leaving the team this summer, the Argentine playmaker Pablo Barrientos decided that Sicily was where his heart was.

    A fan favorite, Barrientos excels at close quarter dribbling and loves to test keepers from awkward angles.

    He's one of the main danger men up front in a team that will be fighting for salvation this season after losing pivotal pieces like Francesco Lodi and Alejandro 'Papu' Gomez.

Chievo: Cyril Thereau

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    The 30-year-old French striker peaked late in his career, as he's now in the form of his life after bouncing around Europe throughout his 20s.

    Thereau leads the line for an overachieving Chievo side that has one of the smallest fan groups in all of Italy.

    Although he's not a natural goalscorer, Thereau is a very technical lanky athlete that can come up with spectacular plays out of thin air, giving Chievo the occasional moment of pure genius up front.

Fiorentina: Borja Valero

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    Watch Fiorentina a few times and you'll see that their most influential player is their criminally-underrated midfielder Borja Valero.

    The bald Spaniard is as cool as you can imagine in possession, often setting up teammates wonderfully with pinpoint passes that split the defense in two pieces. 

Genoa: Alberto Gilardino

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    Even though he's now playing for lowly Genoa, Alberto Gilardino can be proud of having a career many would die for.

    The No. 9 striker has won a World Cup with Italy and a Champions League with Milan, featuring plenty for both sides.

    Now in his early 30s, the man affectionately known as Gila has the unenviable task of keeping a side with one of the most fervent fan bases afloat.

    He almost always finishes the season with a goal tally in the double digits, and has the most headed goals in Serie A in the past eight years.

     

Hellas Verona: Jorginho

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    Verona's young versatile midfielder is one of the reasons why they secured promotion into the top flight this season.

    Jorginho's play in the second division was so impressive that Liverpool made a summer bid for him which was rejected by Hellas Verona.

    He's now impressing a full-fledged starter in Serie A by scoring goals as well as setting up teammates in a side that has been the revelation of the season, currently holding a top five position in the Serie A table.

Inter: Samir Handanovic

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    The Slovenian goalkeeper has been one of the brightest spots on Inter since he joined two seasons ago from Udinese.

    He was so good last season despite a terrible defensive unit in front of him that Barcelona showed heavy interest in his services during the Summer months.

    Handanovic excels at reaction saves, and is a hulking presence who can charge out during set pieces as well.

Juventus: Andrea Pirlo

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    Does Andrea Pirlo really need a description?

    Ever since his bitter divorce from Milan, Andrea Pirlo has been an absolute talisman in Antonio Conte's Juventus

    Perhaps the finest deep-lying playmaker in world football, Pirlo has had some of his best seasons in a Bianconeri uniform despite many detractors saying he was done and dusted.

    Aside from being a master of the deep ball, Pirlo is an incredible force from set pieces, whether it's a cheeky curl into the top corner or a perfectly lofted pass to find the head of a streaking teammate.

    Without Pirlo, Juventus' midfield doesn't quite tick the same.

Lazio: Hernanes

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    Hernanes has become a staple in Lazio's lineup since joining from Santos in 2010.

    The Brazilian trequartista has even become a regular part of the Seleccao with his impressive performances for the Biancocelesti.

    He's a graceful playmaker that links midfield with attack, often trying his luck with long distance bullets which are a nightmare for opposing keepers.

    Hernanes has been an integral part of Lazio's recent success, even though fans have been dismayed by their current lack of ambition.

    It's too bad that he hasn't seen Champions League action because a player of Hernanes' quality could be a contributor to any team in the world.

Livorno: Paulinho

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    Paulo Sergio Betanin, otherwise known as Paulinho, is the main reason why Livorno were promoted last season from the Serie B.

    Paulinho scored 20 goals for the Tuscan side last season and has shown that he can hit the back of the net in Serie A as well, having scored three goals so far in the top flight.

Milan: Mario Balotelli

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    Having nearly scored a goal per game since joining in the January transfer window from Manchester City, Milan truly do depend on Mario Balotelli.

    It's unfortunate that the mercurial striker often makes headlines for the wrong reasons because he has continually improved his play to become a more all-around striker.

    This season, he has shown a play-making ability that brings back memories of Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Milan, as well as a coolness from the penalty spot that's second to none.

Napoli: Gonzalo Higuain

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    Being the replacement for a Napoli legend like Edinson Cavani can never be easy, but Gonzalo Higuain seems to have settled himself perfectly in Naples as he's already a beloved figure by the Partenopei faithful.

    Higuain was purchased for half of what PSG paid for Edinson Cavani but has proven to be a difference maker for the club domestically and in Europe.

    Perhaps unsurprising given his productive tally with Real Madrid over the past five years.

Parma: Antonio Cassano

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    Crazy, unpredictable, and lazy.

    These are three of the adjectives you'd hear around a player who once wrote a book titled And if it's sunny I'll play in the shade.

    Despite his mercurial temperament, there's no denying the world-class skill set that Antonio Cassano possesses.

    Now plying his trade for his seventh career club, Cassano most likely won't have many more suitors in Serie A if he messes up his chances at Parma.

    Anything is possible with Fantantonio, as he has left nearly every side he has played on in bad terms. This time around, Cassano swears it'll be different, but the clock is ticking on when his mind will take yet another turn to further complicate his bizarre career.

Roma: Francesco Totti

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    Francesco Totti is Roma's gladiator who has played around 700-games with the club in a career which has spanned two decades.

    What's even more remarkable is the way the 37-year-old Totti has been able to shine in the twilight of his career.

    Even though he's currently slower than evolution, Totti has stardust in his feet and a vision which leaves spectators speechless.

    Now that he's been even further rejuvenated by the arrival of Rudi Garcia, it'll be interesting to see if Er Pupone has one more chance to play in the Champions League.

Sampdoria: Pedro Obiang

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    Don't feel too bad if you haven't heard his name yet, Pedro Obiang is one of the most underrated players even in Italy.

    The Spanish box-to-box midfielder is an integral all-around presence for the Blucerchiati, as he's able defensively and loves coming forward as well.

Sassuolo: Simone Zaza

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    The 22-year-old bad boy owned by Juventus gets his first experience in Serie A as he was loaned over the Summer to newly-promoted Sassuolo.

    Last season he terrorized the Italian second division with Ascoli, scoring 18-goals throughout their campaign.

    Now, he spearheads an inexperienced Serie A side that will be desperate for his goals this season.

    Zaza has already found the back of the net twice.

Torino: Alessio Cerci

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    The left-footed Alessio Cerci could be compared to Arjen Robben in playing style, but he has never found the consistency to truly take a leap on the world stage until this season.

    Knowing that few possess such a talented foot, Torino coach Giampiero Ventura converted Alessio Cerci into a second striker, where he has less defensive duties and more room to operate around the opposing goal.

    He has repaid the coach, scoring 6-goals so far in Serie A and booking himself a place in Cesare Prandelli's Italian national team.

Udinese: Antonio Di Natale

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    29, 28, 23, 23. No, these aren't lottery numbers, but the total goals Toto Di Natale managed domestically with Udinese in the past four seasons.

    It's an incredible total for a player who didn't quite grow up as a goalscorer, but became a lethal finisher in the latter stages of his career.