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

and the rightback slot here

Pablo Armero - Udinese (Nominated by Francesco Pizzolla)

Udinese is known for bringing in young talents nobody has ever heard of that become stars in Serie A. This season was no different, and one of the those players was Colombian international left-back Pablo Armero. Spotted playing for Brazilian Serie A side Palmeiras, Armero had signed a pre-contract with Parma but then had to cancel the deal because of the non-EU limit that came into affect. Udinese quickly scooped him up and it’s a decision they definitely don’t regret. After losing their first four games, Armero was inserted into the starting eleven by Francesco Guidolin and never left, putting in great performances week-in and week-out.

Over the course of the season, Armero has gained comparisons to Maicon, and the comparison is not far off. Armero is a physically strong player who accelerates with ease down the flank, is a good crosser, and has a precise and powerful shot with his left foot (as evidenced by his goal vs. Fiorentina in December). His performances raised many eyebrows and has been linked with many big clubs, including Barcelona. With Udinese’s selling philosophy, don’t rule out a big money transfer this summer for a player who is certainly on the rise.

Federico Balzaretti - Palermo (Nominated by TB)

In a league where defense reigns supreme and fullbacks are stuff of legends, there has been a surprising lack of talent in recent times in regards to who is Serie A’s best left back . One player has shown the ability, quality, and competency to claim this title and he is Palermo’s Federico Balzaretti. At the ripe age of 29, his journey to success has not come easy but he has hit his stride with the Sicilian side. After stints with various clubs, including Juventus and Fiorentina, Balzaretti transferred to the Rosanero in 2008 and has not looked back.

After a solid campaign last year, he is set to have a career best in goals and assists for the 2010-11 season. Balzaretti is currently tied with names such as Samuel Eto’o and Antonio Di Natale in the league with seven assists apiece and he also has the most assists for a left back in the league. Balzaretti’s form and consistency was recognized earlier this season, as Cesare Prandelli rewarded him with his first call up to the Azzurri, leading to his first appearance in a friendly against Romania last November. Due to his hard work on the pitch, his tenacity up and down the flank, and his all around positive play, he has been linked with larger clubs in the peninsula and is well deserving of the praise that has come his way.

Stefan Radu - Lazio (Nominated by Qasá Alom)

When Alexander Kolarov left the capital last summer, Laziale must have been kicking their heels and cursing their luck for losing such an explosive talent; thankfully Stefan Radu has limited many fans from thinking such thoughts. The Romanian international’s rise has been - indeed much like that of Lazio -  steady and rather under the radar but nonetheless crucial to his teams European ambitions. His positional sense defensively has been immaculate and offensively he’s been very timely, which has been perfect for Edy Reja’s brand of austere football. Although at the moment he’s not the player to set any stadium alight, the 24 year old certainly has the potential to becoming Lazio’s very own Dan Petrescu.

Yuto Nagatomo - Inter (Nominated by Julian De Martinis)

Nagatomo is a funny runner. He’s quite quick, with very good burst of acceleration and a seemingly tireless nature. Yet when watching him, it’s his unique zig-zag way of running that catches the eye. That, and his remarkable ability to add to both Inter’s attack and defense equally well whilst rarely leaving the other abandoned. He’s been called the left-flanked Maicon, but in reality, he’s probably better than that. He should be called “The left flank Maicon, if by that we all mean the Maicon of two years ago, in his prime.” Since moving to Inter in January, he’s already appeared for the side 13 times in Serie A as well as featuring heavily in their ultimately doomed Champions’ League run. At just 24, the future seems quite bright for the diminutive Japanese.

  • Ryan Ross

    Balzeretti is my man. He’s been fabulous this season.

  • Piccirriddu

    It’s not even close really. Balzaretti is miles ahead of everyone else.

  • Ted

    I find it hard to vote for a player, who’s defense allowed 7 goals in one game.
    The lack of quality left backs is appalling. Is Balzaretti really the best LB in Italy? WOW…compare him to Evra,Cole,Clichy, or even Kolarov…it’s not even close.

    • Piccirriddu

      Yeah Ted, believe it or not, Balzaretti was featured in the one-man defense Palermo trotted out against Udinese. It was a revolutionary formation!

      Seriously though, do you ever think about the things you say? It’s obvious you don’t like Palermo, but claiming Balzaretti isn’t the best LB in Italy by using the likes of Clichy and Kolarov is LAUGHABLE. Clichy has been pretty poor for Arsenal and Kolarov is no certainty at City (already being linked to a move away).

      Quit using the 7-0 scoreline and one game as your point of reference for over two seasons of phenomenal work. It’s tiresome.

  • Ted

    Look who it is again!!!
    Balzaretti is not the best LB in Italy, he may be the best Italian LB, but he’s not the best BL.
    I’ve been more impressed with Nagatomo and Radu to be honest.
    Take off your Pink glasses for a second,OK?

  • Ted

    Also Palermo have the 2nd worst defense.
    So much for their quality fullbacks!!!

    • Piccirriddu

      Ted - it’s not just me saying this. He’s the highest rated LB in Serie A and the media votes prove it. His average for the season has been 6.19, which is higher than Armero (6.11), Nagatomo (6.06) and Radu who has a lovely 5.74.

      Furthermore, Palermo’s fullbacks have not been the problem defensively this season. Many of the goals scored this year have come through the middle: Bovo, Munoz, Goian shouldering most of the blame.

      So, please. Enlighten me in lieu of the FACTS.

      • Ted

        The media? Poor evidence.
        The media also says Cavani’s the best striker in Serie A, when that’s obviously false.

      • Piccirriddu

        Media is poor evidence. Right. So what are you basing your stuff off of? Your own ridiculously stupid input?

        As for Cavani, ok, just stop…he magically scored 26 goals out of sheer luck then. Stop embarrassing yourself.

        You’ve proven that you have no clue what you are talking about.

      • Ted

        Keep dreaming Palermo boy!

  • Ryan Ross

    Radu could be a good option to consider…

  • Piccirriddu

    Way to back up your argument Ted…

    Oh that’s right, you didn’t.

  • Ted

    Balzaretti is average, Picci.

    • Piccirriddu

      Once again, your lack of statistics or anything else makes you look foolish. So now I’m about to show you how dumb your baseless “arguments” are…using STATISTICS:

      Balzaretti:

      33 Appearances / 2 Goals / 7 Assists / 88% Passing Completion

      Averages 2.2 tackles per game and 2.5 interceptions.

      Average Rating: 7.02

      Radu:

      26 Appearances / 0 Goals / 0 Assists / 81% Passing Completion

      Averages 1.7 tackles per game and 2.3 interceptions.

      Average rating: 6.66

      Armero:

      28 Appearances / 2 Goals / 3 Assists / 78% Passing Completion

      Averages 1.6 tackles per game and 1.8 interceptions.

      Average rating: 6.71

      Nagatomo:

      27 Appearances / 1 Goal / 1 Assist / 83% Passing Completion

      Averages 1.1 tackles per game and 2.0 interceptions.

      Average rating: 6.77

      All data was taken from statistical football database WhoScored.

      Funny that in NONE of those categories do any of the fullbacks have better number than FEDERICO BALZARETTI. And yet, you call him average.

      comments edited

      • Walker

        Piccirriddu no need to resort to personal attacks in getting your point across. We like to keep things friendly here, and don’t like to over moderate but you give me little choice in this situation.

      • Piccirriddu

        Personal attacks? If someone is seriously “hurt” by a comment made on the internet, I fear for how they are in real life.

        It’s not my fault Ted refuses to answer to statistics and facts in the face of blanket, opinionated comments.

        I apologize if calling him “foolish” or “below average methods and intelligence” offended him. But, to use that as a reason to not answer the statistics I provided is quite the cop out.

      • Ted

        You just contradicted yourself.
        LOL

  • Ted

    I can’t take you serious. Since you resort to personal attacks. It shows how immature you truly are.
    Please, grow up.
    Grazie.

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