Juventus have dominated the first half of Serie A 2018/19 breaking records left, right and centre, with Napoli and Inter chasing the Bianconeri at the top of the standings.
Several players have stood out over the first half of the campaign, with some new faces and some we’ve come accustomed to in Italy.
Here is our Team of the Season… So Far, lining up in the usual 3-4-3 system. Let us know your thoughts!
Alessio Cragno – Cagliari
It’s fair to say he is at the moment the most in form Italian goalkeeper there is. Always has his head in the game, keeping the Rossoblu alive in several occasions and being always on his feet, ready to save the day when needed. Italy coach Roberto Mancini is keeping a close eye on him, as he could be replacing Gianluigi Donnarumma with the Azzurri top if he continues to do this well.
Joao Cancelo – Juventus
A number 10 at full back. At times he seems like the reincarnation of Ronaldinho. Unreal technique, and even though he still has to make that final step in terms of defensive work, he is already a difference maker for Juventus, with two assists to his name so far. Part of the 2017/18 Serie A team of the season, Inter fans would have loved to keep hold of him, but he has quickly become a fan favourite at the Allianz Stadium.
Kalidou Koulibaly – Napoli
His growth is complete. The performances in this year’s Champions League have elevated his level to the top one, making him famous worldwide. Put simply, he is rock solid, on point, tactically perfect, and able to tackle when needed as well as pass the ball in style. The perfect defender and currently one of the best in the world.
Milan Skriniar – Inter
Basically, a younger version of Koulibaly, just missing the final step to be at the level of the Senegalese in terms of consistency. Regardless of that, Skriniar has been unreal so far for Inter, with the usual strength and concentration throughout. He has impressed in the Champions League as well, making it in the official 2018 Champions League breakthrough XI.
Fabian Ruiz – Napoli
One of the biggest surprises in this first half of the Serie A season. He arrived for 30 million euros in the summer, so quite an expensive price tag, but no one could have expected this kind of immediacy in results from him. Essentially, he is the perfect modern midfielder, a mix of physicality, strength, quality and technique as well as having the versatility needed. He has played as a winger, as a midfielder and even in the hole down the middle, always being extremely useful both going forward and defending, and scoring three goals.
Rodrigo Bentancur – Juventus
Made the most of the injuries of Sami Khedira and Emre Can to step up and take command of the Juve midfield alongside Miralem Pjanic. He arrived in exchange for Carlos Tevez a couple of years ago, and not many would have expected this kind of impact from the Uruguay centre mid. Quality throughout, as well as the grit needed to play for the Bianconeri. A beauty of a goal scored against Fiorentina is the icing on the cake.
Marcelo Brozovic – Inter
He has completed his transformation into the Regista Inter have needed for so long. Able to guarantee cover to the backline as well as being the first man to dictate play from deep. His last gasp goal against Sampdoria was one of the season’s most important moments for the Nerazzurri. Having found the consistency needed at this level, he is vital for Luciano Spalletti.
Nicolò Barella – Cagliari
The captain’s armband is the last bit needed for his full maturity and leadership. A lion in the middle, fighting for every ball and transforming play from defensive to offensive. Fair to say he is currently the best Italian midfielder. And Roberto Mancini has a lot of faith in him, having handed Barella his first Italy cap on the 10th of October 2018 and having recently praised his personality.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus
What more can be said? Everyone knows Cristiano, and he has now also showed he can score goals in a more defensive league like Serie A: 14 goals and five assists in his first half season of Italian football. He’s already broken some records, as per usual. He is the joint fastest in Juventus history to score 10 league goals, being the fastest to do so in a debut season and becoming the first player to reach 400 league goals in Europe’s top 5 leagues. Business as usual. Now he just needs to perform at the top level for Juventus in the Champions League.
Krzysztof Piatek – Genoa
What an impact on Serie A for the Polish striker. His celebration has quickly become iconic, after netting in the opening seven league games – threatening to beat Gabriel Batistuta’s 11 game goalscoring streak – and then rounding it off by slowing down a little, to get a total of 13 goals in 19 matches. Phenomenal.
Fabio Quagliarella – Sampdoria
The King of wonder goals. Another two to confirm this status, with some insane magic in his back heel, as well as some other less spectacular but just as important finishes to make it 12 goals so far, becoming the first player since David Trezeguet to score in eight consecutive Serie A games, and thus postponing retirement yet again.