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Best Serie A Players of 2021

Tue 18 January 2022 | 20:29

The Italian top-flight competition, Serie A is home to some of the World’s best players. In this article, we take a look into the best Serie A players of 2021.

Italy's winning the Euro 2020 has put Serie A in higher level of attention than before, one that it had not been in a long time.

Although the Italian league has been widely regarded to be a defensive league due to the defensive tactics most teams use, under

Roberto Mancini

’s management the Italians played a free-flowing possession-based style during EURO 2020.

2021 was the year in which finally Juventus’s 9 -year domination over Serie A came to an end and Inter Milan was crowned the Italian champions in 2020/21.

Often considered the most defensive league in all of Europe, Serie A has given rise to not only some top defenders but also some of the best strikers and midfielders over the years.

Although the league has lost a bit of its gleam after Portuguese star

Cristiano Ronaldo

left Juventus, there is still enough quality in the players of the league.

The Italian Serie A was widely regarded as a defensive league due to the sturdy defensive set-ups employed by teams in the league. However, in recent years, Serie A has seen the growth of a number of attack-minded coaches, and this has brought a more expansive style of play to the league.

Best Serie A Players of 2021:

A fair number of players performed astonishingly in Serie A in 2021, and in this article we have provided a list of the

best Serie A players of 2021

. Read on to find out more about the most shining players during 2021 Italian top flight league.

Dušan Vlahović

  • Full name: Dušan Vlahović

  • Date of birth: 28 January 2000 (age 21)

  • Place of birth: Belgrade, Serbia, FR Yugoslavia

  • Height: 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)

  • Position(s): Striker

  • Current team: Fiorentina

The 21 – year – old striker,

Dusan Vlahovic

, had a rapid rise to stardom in the year 2021. Fiorentina’s Serbian attacker scored a total of 33 league goals during 2021 calendar year within 43 games, and equalled Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of the most number of Serie A goals in a calendar year.

The super Serb has been lighting up Italian football over the past 12 months, drawing the attention of just about every big club in Europe.

Vlahović’s performance has been interestingly consistent throughout the year as he scored 21 goals in 2020/21 season and has scored 16 goals within 20 matches during the current competition in 2021/22.

With a transfer market value of €70.00m, the Serbian player is the second

most valuable player in Serie A 2021

behind only Inter’s Lautaro Martinez (€80.00m).

2021 was his breakthrough year and Vlahovic has his mind set on a move to a bigger club after he has rejected contract extension offers from Fiorentina recently.

With his contract due to expire next season, a number of prominent clubs are already circling around the prodigy to improve their attack and a 21 – year – old natural goal scorer seems to be a perfect target. It wouldn’t be unfair if we named him

Serie A player of the year 2021

.

Despite aggressive interest from Arsenal,

Fiorentina

manager Vincenzo Italiano believes Dusan Vlahovic is "relaxed and motivated" despite his uncertain future at the club.

The 21-year-old striker is hot property, having contributed a sensational 17 goals and four assists in 21 Serie A appearances this season.

His cold-blooded finishing appears to have seen him surge to the top of

Mikel Arteta

’s transfer wish-list for the January transfer window.

Despite the fact he originally expressed a desire to remain at La Viola towards the end of the season, Arsenal’s aggressive interest in the 21-year-old suggests a move to the Emirates Stadium could come sooner rather than later.

Lautaro Martinez

  • Full name: Lautaro Javier Martínez

  • Date of birth: 22 August 1997 (age 24)

  • Place of birth: Bahía Blanca, Argentina

  • Height: 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)

  • Position(s): Striker

  • Current team: Inter Milan

Inter Milan’s 24 – year – old striker,

Lautaro Martinez

, played an important role in Inter’s achieving the Serie A title after 11 years.

The striker joined Inter Milan in 2018 from Racing Club after rejecting interest from both

Real Madrid

and Atletico Madrid.

He netted 17 goals and provided 10 assists within 38 league games last season, and he has kept his bright form in 2021/22 as well, where upon scoring 11 goals within 19 matches, he is Inter’s top scorer in the league.

Additionally, the Argentinean player is currently the most valuable player in Serie A 2021 with a transfer market value of €80.00m. Furthermore, Lautaro Martinez made 41 Serie A appearances in 2021, scored 22 goals and assisted 11 goals.

Martínez signed a new contract, tying him to the Serie A champion until 2026. It’s a statement signing for Inter in the wake of a turbulent offseason, which saw Coach

Antonio Conte

leave because he was unhappy that he would not be able to build on his title-winning squad, and Inter sell two of its top players in Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi.

“I’m really happy to be staying at this club for many years to come,” Martínez said. After not scoring for the club for more than a month he apologized his fans, “But my head is at Inter, I work for Inter, my priority is always Inter. Yes, I'm happy, even for my family.”

Martinez was also a member of the victorious Argentina side that claimed the 2021 Copa America trophy in Brazil.

Martinez is one of the best strikers in the world. It's not just for what he does now, but for what his potential means going forward. If you start looking at hitmen for the big clubs, clearly his name has to be in there.

Cristiano Ronaldo

  • Full name: Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro

  • Date of birth: 5 February 1985 (age 36)

  • Place of birth: Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

  • Height: 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)

  • Position(s): Forward

  • Current team: Manchester United

The Portuguese joined Italy's Old Lady from Los Blancos for a three-year spell, in which time many around Italian football believe Juventus regressed.

Much has been said and written about Cristiano Ronaldo’s time in Serie A in the days since he left to re-join

Manchester United

. Was he a success? Was he a failure?

Although CR7 left the Italian league in the summer of 2021 to join Manchester United, he remained one of the

best Serie A players of 2021

and one of its highest scorers of the year until the end of the year.

He featured in 24 Serie A games for Juventus during the year, scored 17 goals, and carried his team on his shoulders as they were struggling to qualify for the UCL.

Ronaldo was crowned 2020/21 Serie A top scorer with 29 goals, and played a key roale in Juventus placing 4th at the end of the competition thus being qualified for the UEFA Champions League.

Furthermore, Ronaldo became the fastest player to reach 100 Serie A goals by scoring them within only 131 games and recording an astonishing conversion rate. Ronaldo also helped Bianconeri to the conquest of Coppa Italia and the Italian Cup in 2021.

Additionally, the Portuguese legendary player was UEFA EURO 2021 top scorer, and by the end of the year, he was Juventus’s, Portugal’s, and Manchester United’s top scorer (this season).

The Ronaldo effect was immediate. The club gained around 5m new social media followers within 24 hours of the deal being announced.

What isn’t up for argument is that, in the end, Juventus were more than happy to get Ronaldo off the club’s wage bill, his €31m ($36m)-a-season salary simply crushing the club’s shrinking revenue in the pandemic-shaped landscape we find ourselves in.

Federico Chiesa

  • Full name: Federico Chiesa

  • Date of birth: 25 October 1997 (age 24)

  • Place of birth: Genoa, Italy

  • Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)

  • Position(s): Winger

  • Current team: Juventus (on loan from Fiorentina)

Juventus signed forward

Federico Chiesa

from Fiorentina on a two-year loan. The deal is a two-year loan agreement which includes an obligation to buy, it will cost Juventus €3m (£2.7m) in the first year and €7m (£6.35m) for the second year.

Juventus’s winger had an outstanding year in 2021 for his club and country. He played a vital role in Italy’s triumph at EURO 2020 with 2 crucial goals on their way to winning the title.

Moreover, Chiesa featured in 33 league games for Juventus during 2020/21 Serie A, being one of the most important players of Bianconeri, he scored 8 goals and provided 6 assists.

Moreover, Chiesa’s €70.00m value in transfer market website has stood him in the second place of most valuable player in Serie A 2021.

The Bianconeri recently sealed an incredible come-from-behind win at the expense of Roma, but the celebrations were cut short when it was revealed that the Italian suffered from a cruciate ligament injury.

Therefore, the 24-year-old will require a surgery and the recovery time is estimated to be between six and eight months.

Stefan De Vrij

  • Full name: Stefan de Vrij

  • Date of birth: 5 February 1992 (age 29)

  • Place of birth: Ouderkerk aan den IJssel, Netherlands

  • Height: 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)

  • Position(s): Defender

  • Current team: Inter Milan

Inter Milan

concluded the signing of Stefan de Vrij on a free transfer following the expiration of his deal at Serie A counterparts Lazio.

De Vrij signed a five-year contract with Internazionale, after four years at the Stadio Olimpico.

The club splashed nearly £70m on arrivals ahead of next season, as well as Radja Nainggolan and Lautaro Martinez.

The Netherlands international is the sixth player to join the Milan club this summer, as they hope to push on from their fourth-place finish in Serie A last campaign.

Regarded as one of the

Serie A best defenders 2021

, Inter’s center back was a pivotal player in Antonio Conte’s line – up during 2020/21 Serie A.

De Vrij featured in 32 league games for the title winning Nerazzurri in the last season, and he has been just as important to Inter’s new coach Simone Inzaghi as the Dutch defender had played in 16 Serie A games this season so far.

He clearly makes the differences when he is on the pitch by having superb defending abilities. The 29 – year – old defender helped his team to keep 15 clean sheets and was one of the best Serie A players of 2021.

Nicolo Barella

  • Full name: Nicolò Barella

  • Date of birth: 7 February 1997 (age 24)

  • Place of birth: Cagliari, Italy

  • Height: 1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)

  • Position(s): Midfielder

  • Current team: Inter Milan

Another Inter player on the list of the

best Serie A players of 2021

is the 24 – year – old midfielder who rose to stardom in 2021 while shining for Inter and Italy national team.

His performances have been so good that he has recently signed a bumper contract with Nerazzurri and has also been confirmed as the club's next captain for the 2022-23 season.

Nicolo Barella

scored 3 goals and assisted 7 during 2020/21 Serie A for Inter Milan.

Moreover, he was a pivotal player in Italy’s squad during the EURO 2020 where he scored 1 and assisted 2 further goals. Barella is one of the most valuable player in Serie A 2021 with a transfer market value of €70.00m.

Italian midfielder extended his contract with Inter Milan, "FC Internazionale Milano is delighted to announce that Nicolo Barella has signed a contract extension with the club. The 24-year-old midfielder's new deal will run until 30 June 2026," the club announced.

This season Barella played 15 matches to score one goal and six assists for Inter. He is one of the Inter regulars who helped the Nerazzurri win the 2021 Italian Serie A title.

Playing in the center of the park, Barella piled up a total of 102 appearances to score eight goals and produce 27 assists for Inter.

In 2021 summer, he played for the Italian national team to win the UEFA EURO 2020 title.

Barella is 24 but he's played for some of Italy's best managers in his relatively short career. He commented, "Inzaghi is the perfect coach post-Conte. He gives you peace of mind and confidence.

His interpretation of work is different to Conte, but they are both winners. After two years of Conte, Inzaghi helps us greatly and is boosting our confidence."

Hakan Calhanoglu

  • Full name: Hakan Çalhanoğlu

  • Date of birth: 8 February 1994 (age 27)

  • Place of birth: Mannheim, Germany

  • Height: 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)

  • Position(s): Attacking midfielder

  • Current team: Inter Milan

The Turkish midfielder moved from AC Milan to Inter Milan in the summer of 2021. He helped AC Milan to finish the Serie A 2020/21 as the runner – ups and qualify for the UEFA Champions League after a long absence.

It was thought that the primary reason for the signing of the midfielder was the likelihood that Nerazzurri midfielder Christian Eriksen would miss all or most of next season as he recovers from his health issues.

Calhanoglu

scored 4 goals and provided 9 assists for the black and reds in 2020/21, and then became the latest player to cross the Milan divide upon moving from AC Milan to the title-winning Inter.

The 27 – year – old has also been a vital player in

Simone Inzaghi

’s squad as well this season where with 6 goals and 7 assists he has been one of the best Serie A players of 2021. Overall, Calhanoglu has made 36 appearances in Serie A in 2021, netted 9 goals and provided 11.

Franck Kessie

  • Full name: Franck Yannick Kessié

  • Date of birth: 19 December 1996 (age 25)

  • Place of birth: Ouragahio, Ivory Coast

  • Height: 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)

  • Position(s): Central midfielder

  • Current team: AC Milan

AC Milan’s Ivorian midfielder was one of the main reasons the club finished 2020/21 Serie A in the second place and returned to the UEFA Champions League after a long wait.

The 25 – year – old player has had a luminous year in the league and is deservedly regarded as one of the best Serie A players of 2021. He featured in a total of 40 matches for Milan in Serie A and was always present in the squad.

Moreover,

Franck Kessie

scored 13 goals and provided 3 assists for the club during the year. Furthermore, Kessie was named in IFFHS Men’s Team of the Year 2021 and Ivorian fans have high hopes about his performances at AFCON 2021.

The Ivory Coast international is out of contract at the Rossoneri at the end of the season and is reported to have many interested parties including Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

Kessie struggled in both UEFA Champions League matches for AC Milan against

Liverpool

but there is no doubt he has a lot of qualities.

He’s a creative, goalscoring, dynamic central midfielder who keeps possession and he really loves running, “I’m not afraid of running a lot. Sometimes my teammates ask ‘How do you do it?’ I reply that it’s natural for me.

I’m earning way too much money to not sweat on the pitch. In Africa, there are people who walk 20 miles every morning just for a piece of bread,” AC Milan midfielder said.

Lorenzo Insigne

  • Full name: Lorenzo Insigne

  • Date of birth: 4 June 1991 (age 30)

  • Place of birth: Frattamaggiore, Naples, Italy

  • Height: 1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)

  • Position(s): Winger

  • Current team: Napoli

SSC Napoli captain

Lorenzo Insigne

has spent one of the best years of his career in 2021: the diminutive winger played a in a total of 40 Serie A matches in 2021 within which he managed to score 18 goals and provide 10 assists.

With the said numbers, Insigne has been undoubtedly one of the best Serie A players of 2021. In addition, he has been a vital player for the EURO 2020- title – winning Italian national team as well, where by scoring 2 goals during the tournament Insigne helped Azzurri achieve their 2nd European Cup.

He has signed a pre-contract to join

Toronto FC

in Major League Soccer beginning 1 July 2022.

“This is a historic and exciting day for our club,” said Toronto FC President Bill Manning. “Lorenzo is a world class attacking player in the prime of his career.

He was a European champion with Italy and has performed on the biggest stages during his club career with Napoli. Lorenzo has the talent to change games.

He plays the game with joy and passion, and our fans and supporters are going to love watching him as a member of our team.”

Insigne, 30, will join Toronto FC after spending most of his career with Serie A side Napoli, where he’s made a combined 416 appearances, scoring 114 goals with 95 assists across all competitions (Serie A, Coppa Italia, Super Cup, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League).

In 11 seasons with Napoli, Insigne won three titles including: Super Cup (2014/2015) and Coppa Italia (2013/2014 and 2019/2020). In March 2021, Insigne was selected Serie A MVP of the month, after scoring three goals and registering one assist in four games. He has served as the club captain since 2019.

Romelu Lukaku

  • Full name: Romelu Menama Lukaku Bolingoli

  • Date of birth: 13 May 1993 (age 28)

  • Place of birth: Antwerp, Belgium

  • Height: 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)

  • Position(s): Striker

  • Current team: Chelsea

The Belgian powerful striker was the star of Inter’s title winning side in 2020/21 as they ended Juventus’s 9 – year domination and brought the Serie A title to

Giuseppe Meazza

after 11 years.

In 2021 calendar year, Lukaku played in 23 league games for Nerazzurri, scored 13 goals and provided 9 assists. He was one of the best Serie A players of 2021 despite his departure to Chelsea in the summer of 2021.

Additionally,

Romelu Lukaku

was directly involved in more goals (35) than any other player during the 2020/21 Serie A season and was also named the 

Serie A MVP 2021

.

He scored 24 goals and provided 11 assist throughout 2020/21 Serie A season as he had paired up with the Argentinean Lautaro Martinez with an impeccable mutual understanding on the pitch which brought glory to Inter at the end of the season.

In 2021, Chelsea completed the signing of Lukaku from Inter Milan on a five-year deal for a club-record fee. The 28-year-old returned to Stamford Bridge after departing back in 2014 and signed for a fee in the region of £97.5 million. He became Chelsea's record signing taking over from

Kai Havertz

.

It was recently revealed that Chelsea boss

Thomas Tuchel

wanted the club to sign a ‘point of reference’ striker and a ‘reliable goalscorer’. It is believed they tried to sign Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, but Lukaku was the only ‘gettable elite’ option for the no. 9 role.

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