We’ve heard who the writers believe to be the best Italian currently playing in Serie A, but what of the imports from across Europe and South America? Football Italiano’s team talk Who is the best foreign player currently playing in Serie A?
Mark Jones: Tough choice, a very tough choice. Serie A has some of the greatest foreign talent from all corners of the globe, with a lot of that talent coming from Brazil.
While Kaka, Pato, Ronaldinho and Adriano may take more of the headlines and plaudits, I’m going to go for Inter’s Brazilian full back Maicon, a man with so much energy it’s scary. Often to be seen as the man furthest forward in Inter attacks, Maicon is the blueprint for the modern right-back, tough in the tackle, quick, strong and with attacking abilities that any right-winger would be proud of. What he adds to the Inter side is immeasurable, he is always available and always wanting the ball, while the pinpoint cross he put in for Adriano’s opening goal in the Milan derby could prove to be the most important pass of the season. I get tired just watching him.
Chris Sloley: With the stature of imports matching the English
Premier League, there are some real gems currently battling it out on the pitches across Italy.
Although an outside bet, long-standing Milanese midfield general Clarence Seedorf has the technical brilliance to flourish in a league that isn’t yet too
fast for him. Another shout – but possibly too early – could go to Genovese goal machine Diego Milito, who has proven he wasn’t blowing hot air when he held off a move to Tottenham in the summer and has instead focused on playing his way into the top scorer rankings and sent Genoa marching into Europe. However, an obvious choice would be Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The big Swede has an impeccable sense of showmanship that borders on the offensive but his importance to the Nerazzurri set-up cannot be underestimated. His finishing and overall footballing ability are testament to the fact he is not just a head-on-a-stick frontman but a very dangerous opponent and currently the league’s marquee player.
Mike Carre: I know this is going to seem a strange choice but Esteban Cambiasso is my shout.
He is Inter’s unsung hero and massively underrated. In last month’s Milan Derby he was immense and he continually puts in consistent and quality displays. I always think of him as a mixture between Claude Makelele and Michael Essien. His positional sense, simplicity when on the ball and superb ability to break up the play stinks of Makelele, while his driving and energetic showings remind me of Chelsea’s Ghanaian powerhouse. The Argentine totally dominates the midfield area and is a real driving force for the Nerazzurri and I firmly believe he is their most important player. You rarely find him bursting into the box and netting goals but his influence is massive and although he doesn’t always get the recognition he deserves, I’m sure Mourinho and his players appreciate his contribution.
Rich Oldale: The competition for best overseas player is even more vigorous than best Italian player, being that Serie A is blessed with former World Players of the Year and many other potential Ballon d’Or winners.
Inter strikers Adriano and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are obvious candidates, as are Kaka, Mauro Zarate and Mirko Vucinic to name but a few. The player that has impressed me the most however, is Milan’s young striker, Pato. The latest talent to be picked off the endless Brazilian production line has bagged 12 goals, has phenomenal ball control, even when running at pace, and plays with a maturity beyond his tender years. You could argue that playing in the creative hub of a talent-filled Milan side a striker should be expected to score plenty of goals, but at the same time the 19-year-old has not looked out of place amongst a star-studded line-up.
David Swan: This is a tough one. You could base the answer on performances this season, or as a whole since the player arrived. I am going to use the latter, and therefore my answer is Kaká.
He has been simply sensational since joining Milan, managing to hit double figures for league goals in four out of his six seasons. To oust a big-name like Rui Costa in your first season, and at the age of 21, just shows how good he is. His consistency is remarkable, and even when he has an average season, as I have heard people claim he is having this year, he still scores and creates plenty of goals – 11 goals in 20 appearances so far. There can be no doubt that he is fundamental to the team, while they are more than capable of winning games without him, his absence is felt more often than not.
Paolo Cabrelli: Despite what his supporters say, Zlatan the Great fast becomes Zlatan the Invisible on big occasions. Just look at the first-leg against Manchester United.
When the pressure’s off, there’s no-one better. But when it really counts, he becomes a hollow-legged coward. So, I’ll opt for Kaka. He has it all: drive, grace, vision and the ability to play without fear of failure. His performance against Manchester United in both semi-finals was exquisite, showing the world (and Cristiano Ronaldo) how to play with total freedom at the highest of levels. This season has been a difficult one, far from the highs of 2006/07. Yet, as Milan slowly begin to build yet another team, Kaka will be at the very heart of their next great campaign. If Milan build around him, expect his very best form to return next season.
Sandro Berishvili: With more and more great foreign players bringing their trade to Serie A then ever before this question is definitely a tough one to answer.
While long time veterans such as Javier Zanetti, Pavel Nedved, Clarence Seedorf and newcomers Diego Milito, Ezequiel Lavezzi, all deserve mention, my pick for the best foreign player currently playing in Serie A is no other than Fiorentina’s Romanian hit-man Adrian Mutu. The Romanian is slowly turning into a key player for la Viola with his timely goals such as the ones against Genoa and Chievo a major reason as to why Fiorentina are where they are in the league. He is a clinical finisher, a clutch player and can take a free kick or two he is an all-round attacking threat averaging at least 15 goals in his last three years. Although much controversy has surrounded him with drugs bans and temperamental issues, he has overcome all that on the pitch and is realising his true potential. Not many foreigners are as important to their teams as Mutu is to his.