Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Serie A Weekly readers will be able to choose their own Team of the Year, voting for players nominated by the writing and editing team. The team will line up 4-3-1-2, the most common used formation in Serie A in recent times. Next up for your selection is right-back so read on as four of our writers give you their choice and tell you why. Please leave a comment and remember to vote.

You can also go back and vote for the Goalkeeper here

Ignazio Abate - Milan (Nominated by Julian De Martinis)

Abate’s rise has been quite noticeable over the last few seasons, from a delightfully fast runner with little else to his game, to a starter under Leonardo who slowly grew into his right-back role, to a solid fixture under Allegri in a Scudetto winning side. Some of the other nominees here are no doubt worthy, but Abate’s age and silverware should give him the edge. At only 24, the player’s best years look to be ahead of him, as each season he has shown continual improvement and refinements to his game: his forward forays are no less effective and his defensive side has been greatly improved. When Milan lift the Scudetto in May, plaudits will likely be given to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s numerous goals earlier in the season, Kevin Prince Boateng’s emergence as a modern day twist on the trequartista and Tiago Silva’s rock solid displays in the back. Yet without Abate’s bildungsroman in the story that is AC Milan’s season it is likely that there would be no trophy at all.

Christian Maggio -Napoli (Nominated by Francesco Pizzolla)

The road to success for Christian Maggio has been a fairly long one. However he can finally be considered the premier right-back in all of Serie A. After starting his career with hometown Vicenza in Serie B and the rebuilding Fiorentina in the second division before Sampdoria sporting director Beppe Marotta decided to gamble on the young right-back in 2006. After two top seasons Napoli bought Maggio and since then ‘Super Bike’ (so named because of his incredible accelerations down the flank) has become arguably top right-back in Italy and indeed has played for the National Team recently, putting in a superb performance vs. Slovenia.

His main qualities are his incredible work-rate, his acceleration and making runs into the opposing box where he manages to knock in a goal or two (watch his goal vs. Livorno). He has also worked on his crossing ability and has provided many assists for Napoli’s strikers this season. Maggio is currently at the peak of his career, and playing in a position where there is a real scarcity of quality players really gives Napoli and the Nazionale a vital asset to any future success.

Stephan Lichtsteiner - Lazio (Nominated by Giancarlo Rinaldi)

With the nickname Forrest Gump it would be easy to think there is not a lot of thought goes into the forward forays of Stephan Lichtsteiner from right-back. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth as he has been a real driving force for Lazio throughout the season. The Swiss international has made turning defence into attack quite an art form.

At a club which has converted honest endeavour into plenty of Serie A points this year he has been a prime protagonist. Indeed, it would be no surprise to see him follow the path beaten by Aleksandr Kolarov and complete a big money move away from Rome this summer.  But that would be a shame for a Lazio side which he has played a major part in turning into serious competitors for a return to the Champions League.

Mauricio Isla - Udinese (Nominated by Stuart Harper)

The diminutive Chilean is fast developing into a full back who meets the demands of this position within the modern game. In a nod to a blueprint exemplified by Ashley Cole, Isla possesses the prerequisite ’box-to-box’ engine which sees defensive duties quickly morph into attacking forays. On the ball, Mauricio possesses quick feet, dextrous skills and the vision which makes Udinese much more of a threat than simply Sanchez and Di Natale alone. As the Summer mercato nears, talk of a big money move for Sanchez gathers pace but with as the likes of Patrice Evra and the aforementioned Ashley Cole prove, a quality full-back can bring so much to the party. Thus, Guidolin will be relieved if he survives the Summer with at least one of his marquee Chileans still at the Fruili.

Mattia Cassani - Palermo (Nominated by Lorenzo Vicini)

Cassani has exhibited all the qualities of a great right back for the Rosanero, earning him accolades and acknowledgment as one of Serie A’s best at the position. Possessing a quiet leadership that earned him the vice-captaincy at Palermo to go along with superb technical abilities, Mattia commands the right line week in and week out. Perhaps no other fullback in Italy can control one side of the pitch the way Cassani does. His frequent runs forward to aid in the Palermo attack have earned him no less than four assists this season from his excellently delivered crosses.

Furthermore, it is his defensive qualities that have seen him cancel out some of the best attacking players in the league with many a critical tackle to his credit. Such great showings over the past few years have led many to compare him to Gianluca Zambrotta in his prime. And while that comparison is quite the compliment to a player, the greatest has come at the national level. If there were any doubt about Cassani’s place among the elite at his position, then his starter’s spot on the Italian national team should end all that. Much like he has solidified his place in the Azzurri starting eleven, Mattia Cassani has established himself as the best right back in Serie A.

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  • Ted

    Abate for me.
    He’s done well against top opposition, in Serie A ( Eto ) and in the CL against the likes of Ronaldo and Bale.
    Probably Milan’s most consistent player alongside Thiago Silva.

  • Enrique Julian

    Maggio has been the best right back in Serie A this season without oposition. He has provided many positive things to Napoli, like many assits to the strikers or some goals, and he has done a good defensive work. One of the keys of the success of Napoli, and in the future Nazionale.

    Lichtsteiner and Isla, second and third in this position, they have done a great season too.

  • Ryan Ross

    Surely it has to be Maggio!! He’s been irresistable and his bombing raids forward have created the width Napoli need to succeeed.

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