Ten to Shine in Serie A
We’ve just over 10 days to go until the new Serie A season begins.
Reigning champions Juventus or Parma will have the honour of kicking the first ball on August 24.
But who are the 10 players my eye is on ahead of the 2019-20 campaign?
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
How can you not include one of the best players in the world? Ronaldo inspired Juventus to yet another title last season, and even at the age of 34, his sheer brilliance is undisputed.
He also generated a new generation of Juve fans. While the Champions League may be their priority, they will be equally determined to hold off their rivals and seal a ninth successive Scudetto.
He will remain the star attraction in 2019-20.
Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan)
Romelu Lukaku gives his thumbs up as he salutes Inter Milan supporters
His move was the focus of much speculation, and Inter Milan finally paid his worth.
Now that he has arrived, Belgium’s record goalscorer wants to justify the faith shown in him by new boss Antonio Conte.
Wherever he has gone in England, Lukaku has scored goals which, according to this SBOBET writer, makes it surprising why Manchester United were willing to sell him.
He had some special moments in a United shirt and notched a record slightly better than a goal every other game he started for the Red Devils.
In theory, despite the defensive excellence Italians are renowned for, Lukaku may find scoring goals in Serie A more straightforward than in the Premier League.
The slower approach play may suit him and certainly, his physical presence will unnerve some opponents.
Krzysztof Piatek (AC Milan)
Here is a guy making quite an impression and someone I expect to be engaged in a battle for the top scorer prize.
Piatek scored 19 goals in just 21 games for Genoa, which prompted Milan to snap up the 23-year-old Polish striker.
He has now been handed the Rossoneri’s famed No.9 shirt and will be under a weight of expectations.
Since 2012, eight players have worn the number on their back, notably Alexandre Pato, Mattia Destro, Fernando Torres and Gonzalo Higuain.
They racked up 143 games between the eight of them but scored just 25 goals, a ratio of 0.17 goals per game.
I suspect Piatek will relish that shirt. After all, he has already created some Serie A 2019 highlights with 11 goals since he signed in January.
In a season in which Milan do not have the added distraction of European football, his intentions will be solely focused on domestic matters, and that could be to their benefit.
Adrien Rabiot (Juventus)
Now here is a player whose signature is a statement by the Champions. A free transfer, too.
That the Turin giants won the protracted race for his services after he was linked with a host of Europe’s biggest clubs is quite a coup.
He has impressed in pre-season and, while he could find the general standard slightly higher than Ligue 1, there’s no reason why he won’t make an equally good impression.
Aged just 24 so approaching his prime, he enjoyed an impressive 92% pass completion rate in his final full season as regular at Paris Saint-Germain.
Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus)
If Ronaldo was the star name last summer, Juventus have pulled off the coup of this summer too.
The 19-year-old captain of Ajax was the most sought-after defender in the game, and he has chosen to continue his development with the "Old Lady" of Turin.
He could form a potentially formidable partnership with Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.
It will be fascinating to see how he and Juve fare under Maurizio Sarri.
Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria)
That Quagliarella was the Serie A top scorer last season for a side which finished ninth in the table was a terrific achievement and proof that the veteran marksman just gets better with age.
While he can’t be expected to repeat that feat, he will still be a man to watch.
The striker, Italy’s all-time oldest goalscorer, last season equalled Gabriel Batistuta’s record of scoring in 11 consecutive Serie A matches.
Lautaro Martínez – Inter
In Lukaku, Inter have their marquee signing.
In Mauro Icardi, if he stays, Inter have a captain who is one of the most accomplished marksmen in world soccer.
In Martínez, they have one of the most promising.
Serving as an apprentice to his Argentine compatriot, the 21-year-old has caught the eye for the Nerazzurri since arriving from Buenos Aires side Racing Club and will only get better with consistent chances to shine.
Federico Chiesa – Fiorentina
Considering his team only stayed up on the final day of last season, Fiorentina fans must be relieved the son of former Italy international striker Enrico Chiesa is still at the club.
He has emerged as the club’s hottest property over the last 18 months, an exciting yet tenacious player who makes things happen.
While his dad earned 22 caps for the Azzurri, Chiesa Jr. is tipped to comfortably surpass that total.
My final two to watch are based on transfers that could well happen over the next few days.
Angel Correa (Milan?)
This would be a smart move for Milan but it’s not that simple.
After Atletico Madrid reportedly agreed a €60million deal for Valencia forward Rodrigo Moreno, the door is open for Correa to move to Serie A.
Atletico are reportedly around €10m apart in their valuation from what Milan are willing to pay.
One thing’s for sure, the Italian league would be a destination that should suit the 24-year-old.
Hirving Lozano (Napoli?)
If this comes off, it could be the signing of the season.
In fact, he is just what last season’s runners-up need.
Lozano has helped PSV Eindhoven to a league title and a second spot in his two years in the Eredivisie.
Under the tutelage of Carlo Ancelotti, the versatile attacker, who can play up front or as a winger, would positively thrive.
He has scored 40 times in 78 appearances in all competitions over his two seasons for the Red and Whites. So it all starts a week on Saturday. Look at the Serie A 2019 betting odds before deciding who to put your money on.
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This message was edited by SBOBET on 14-Aug-2019 at 2:04 PM