Cristiano Ronaldo Wins Serie A MVP in 1st Season with Juventus

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2019

Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo runs with the ball during the Italian Serie A football match between AS Roma and Juventus Turin at the Olympic stadium in Rome, on May 12, 2019. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Serie A MVP award for the 2018-19 season, his first in the Italian top division.

Per Football Italia, he won the award―calculated via statistics―thanks to his 22 goals and 11 assists in 33 matches across all domestic competitions. The award is an official distinction from the league, with Ernst & Young putting the list together using data from Opta Sports and Netco Sports.

Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly, Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Inter Milan's Samir Handanovic, Sampdoria's Fabio Quagliarella and AS Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo were the other winners, the latter being voted Best Young Player and the others picking up the positional awards.

ESPN FC's James Horncastle was not impressed with some of the picks:

James Horncastle @JamesHorncastle

Ronaldo to be given the new Serie A MVP award before Juventus’ game against Atalanta. Handanovic best GK, Koulibaly best defender, Milinkovic Savic best midfielder, Quagliarella best attacker, Zaniolo best young player. I have an issue with more than one of those awardees

Neither was Serie A writer Adam Digby, who thought the decision to use statistics resulted in some odd choices:

Adam Digby @Adz77

Before everyone complains about these Serie A awards, please note they’re handed out based entirely on stats. The bizarre winners reflect the fact there’s no effort gone into them whatsoever https://t.co/5zQyys17os

Ronaldo lost out on the award for best forward to Quagliarella, who has scored 26 goals and is likely to finish as this year's top scorer.

Handanovic has been a key man for Inter, playing a vital role in the team's push for a UEFA Champions League ticket. With two matches left to play, the Nerazzurri are in third place in the standings, four points ahead of AC Milan and AS Roma and one ahead of Atalanta.

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 13:  Goalkeeper of FC Internazionale Samir Handanovic gestures during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and Chievo at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 13, 2019 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Koulibaly has been among Serie A's best defenders for years, but Napoli only have the third-best defence in the league this season, behind Juventus and Inter. Zaniolo's award for the Best Young Player also wasn't a surprise after the breakout season he has had.

The oddest pick was undoubtedly Milinkovic-Savic, who regressed tremendously compared to last season. The Serbian has so far scored four goals and added three assists in the 2018-19 Serie A campaign after bagging 12 goals last season.

Serie A writer David Amoyal couldn't believe he got the nod and also thought Salvatore Sirigu or Alessio Cragno of Torino and Cagliari, respectively, should have beaten Handanovic to the goalkeeper award:

David Amoyal @DavidAmoyal

I’m the biggest Milinkovic Savic fanboy but cannot defend at all him being named best midfielder in Serie A this season. To me both Cragno & Sirigu were vastly superior to Handanovic too https://t.co/XsmTCyaetp

Ronaldo's MVP award will also raise a few eyebrows, but not because he's undeserving. Lega Serie A decided to include stats from the Coppa Italia and Italian Super Cup, even though only two teams―Juventus and AC Milan―played in the latter.

If only Serie A stats had counted, the Portugal international would have finished behind Quagliarella, who recorded the same amount of assists―eight―and five more goals.

Juventus will play two more matches this season, against Atalanta on Sunday and Sampdoria on the final matchday.


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