Twenty teams, 380 games, over 34,200 minutes and 955 goals.
The 2010-2011 Italian Serie A campaign was superlative, to say the least, as we saw a fight to the end at the top of the table, a Champions League side relegated and another squad earn their first berth ever into the prestigious competition.
This is a tribute to the players and goals that simply could not be denied.
Genoa’s Mesto probably does not ring many bells, but the right back scored the very first goal of the 2010-2011 campaign in spectacular fashion when he caught the end of an errant header with a surprising bicycle kick.
Considering Mesto has only scored seven goals in his last 100 appearances for Genoa, this is most likely the last time he will be making an appearance on a list of this sort.
After experiencing a dip in production following his acquisition from FC Barcelona, the Inter forward returned to his goal-scoring ways as he found himself deployed in a more forward-attacking role than what he had experienced in his year under Jose Mourinho.
Here Eto’o easily dizzies his opponent with fancy footwork, pulls off the nutmeg one-two with Diego Milito, who dishes it back with a slick back heel to put Eto’o on goal.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Milan vs. Fiorentina (20 November 2010)
After a less than stellar year muddled with controversy at Camp Nou, following a transfer that saw €69 million and Samuel Eto’o go the other way, Ibrahimovic made a returned to Milan this season—but for the rossoneri.
In an effort to ditch the “selfish” tag he has been often stuck with, Ibra dished out nearly as many assists (11) as he scored goals (14) this season in the Serie A. Still, when all else failed—or he simply got tired of passing to everyone else—he figured that passing to himself was not too bad an option either, as he did here.
Antonio Cassano, Milan vs. Parma (12 February 2011)
After finding himself frozen out of Sampdoria after yet another fallout, Cassano finally made his way to pastures anew during the winter transfer window, as a three-way agreement between Sampdoria, Milan, and Real Madrid had been reached.
Sporting a more portly body following his reintroduction to the pitch, Cassano played an important, yet smaller role than accustomed to, as part of the rossoneri squad that won the scudetto this season. The extra bit of weight did not stop him from showing glimpses of genius, as he did on this goal, which saw him capitalize on brilliant team play.
Javier Pastore, Palermo vs. Bologna (17 October 2010)
While it is now clear that Pastore will be joining PSG this summer, the €43 million midfield ace will surely be missed in Palermo by teammates and fans alike.
Scoring a career-high 11 goals this season, this exquisite pinpoint one-timer being one of them, it is of considerable wonder to how Palermo will manage to replace his presence this upcoming season. In spite of the obvious funds to be gained in this transaction, it is all the more likely Palermo will see quite a drop in the standings—unless they are able to obtain an abundance of foreign talent cheaply.
Alexis Sanchez, Palermo vs. Udinese (27 February 2011)
Looking much like his new teammate Lionel Messi, Sanchez rounds the keeper with a bit of trickery and slots it home with a sharp shot. Having scored 20 goals in the 2010-2011 campaign, one has to wonder what the Chilean will be capable of on a worldly talented side such as FC Barcelona…
The exits of Sanchez, Gokhan Inler to Napoli, and Cristian Zapata to Villarreal has put Udinese’s Champions League and club future in doubt. Having signed no one to replace them since the group’s departure there is worry that Serie A’s competition coefficient will drop even further after having been passed by the Bundesliga last year.
Antonio Di Natale, Udinese vs. Napoli (28 November 2010)
Following his arrival to Udinese from Emporio in 2004, Di Natale has quietly become one of the most consistent strikers in the world. He has scored 112 goals in 228 appearances and taken home two Serie A scoring championships in the past two seasons.
Why Napoli would choose to leave the former Italian Footballer of the Year completely free to shoot is beyond me, but I bet they regretted doing so after Di Natale easily went upper 90 to score the second of what would be a hat-trick performance.
He is versatile enough to play anywhere in the attack and possesses momentous pace in addition to his aforementioned finishing ability. There may be a reason why Udinese does not seem so worried about shipping out young talent for cash as they head into stiffer competition following their Champions League berth.
Clearly 36 years young, Del Piero makes easy work of his opponents as he blows by the Brescia defense. He then seals the deal with a solid, left-footed shot right past a bewildered defender at the edge of the box.
The Juventus’ all-time goal scorer and third-most-capped player in the history of Serie A is set to return as a key substitute for at least one more year after signing an extension to keep him at the Old Lady until the summer of 2011.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Milan vs. Lecce (8 January 2011)
Downright ridiculous and borderline impossible, Ibra manages to make it look easy as he chests the ball, takes a quick look and blasts a 40-yarder to the opposite side of goal.
Accomplishing the spectacular is in large part the reason why the Swede is currently on a streak of eight-straight league wins spanning three different countries and five different clubs.
Purchased by Milan for just €24 million from FC Barcelona, he can now be considered as part of two of the best value deals in football history.
Andrea Pirlo, Milan vs. Parma (2 October 2010)
Not quite a “screamer,” Pirlo’s majestic loft from 40 yards out was all the more beautiful.
Sadly, it was his single goal of the season. But it was a befitting cap to an incredible career at Milan, which saw him win one Italian Cup, two scuddeti, two UEFA Super Cups and two Champions League titles.
May we see a healthy “Metronome” at Juventus!
Edinson Cavani, Juventus vs. Napoli (1 September 2011)
Following his signing from Palermo in July 2010, Cavani burst onto the scene, bagging 26 goals in his first season with Serie A rivals Napoli.
Absolutely nothing could go wrong for the Uruguayan—even when it did. In this goal, Cavani is obviously going for what would have been a spectacular diving header, only to miss entirely and score anyway, courtesy of a last ditch corralling of the ball with the back of his lower leg.
Now the rumored target of some of the biggest clubs in the world, it is impossible to say whether his production for and loyalty to the promising Italian side will continue. But greedy Palermo club president Maurizio Zamparini is surely kicking himself after parting with the player so cheaply.