Wednesday, August 12, 2020 | ePaper

Five players to watch in Serie A

  • Print


AFP, Milan :
Eight-time holders Juventus begin their title defence and Napoli will be looking for their first Scudetto in 30 years as Serie A returns in Italy this weekend.
Juventus, without new coach Maurizio Sarri, travel to Parma on Saturday, boosted by the signings of Matthijs De Ligt, Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot this summer with veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon back in Turin.
Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli head for Fiorentina, with the Tuscany side boosted by the arrival of former French international Franck Ribery on a free transfer from Bayern Munich.
Chinese-owned Inter Milan have also spent big for Antonio Conte's first season in the San Siro with Romelu Lukaku arriving for 65 million euros ($72 million).
Here, AFP Sport looks at five key players to watch in Serie A this season.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
The Portuguese superstar begins his second campaign in Turin after securing a title in a third major European league last season. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner should provide leadership in a team in transition after coach Massimiliano Allegri's replacement by Sarri. Ronaldo, 34, had to wait until the fourth league game last season to get off the mark, but scored 28 goals in 43 games - 21 in Serie A, six in Champions League and one in the Italian Super Cup. It was his lowest tally in a decade and one which he will be looking to improve as he targets the ultimate prize of a sixth Champions League crown.
Matthijs De Ligt (Juventus)
One of Europe's most sought-after players, the 19-year-old Dutch international defender captained Ajax to their most successful season in years, ousting Real Madrid and Juventus to reach the Champions League semi-finals and winning the Dutch national double. But he conceded that the chance to play alongside Ronaldo was too good to turn down. The teenager has the opportunity to become a key player in the Juventus defence alongside veterans Giorgio Chiellini, 35, and Leonardo Bonucci, 32.
Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan)
After an acrimonious exit from Manchester United, the powerful forward has become the star signing for former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, who had tried to capture the 26-year-old in 2017 when he moved to Old Trafford from Everton. Belgium's all-time top scorer with 48 goals, he will be at the centre of Inter's attack, taking the number 9 shirt from former club captain Mauro Icardi with the Argentina international frozen out. The ex-Chelsea and West Bromwich striker has been angered by suggestions he lacks fitness for Sunday's opener against promoted Lecce. "Not bad for a fat boy," he wrote on Instagram showing off his muscled torso.
Hirving Lozano (Napoli)
The Mexican international has enjoyed two excellent seasons with PSV Eindhoven as a goal scoring winger. Known for his blistering pace the 24-year-old joined PSV from Pachuca in 2017 and soon found his feet in Dutch football. The winger nicknamed 'Chucky' has accumulated 45 goals in 83 games over two seasons. He is set to wrap up a deal reportedly worth 42 million euros).
Mario Balotelli (Brescia)
Bad boy Balotelli desperately wants to impress at his promoted hometown club as he targets a place in Italy's Euro 2020 squad. The 29-year-old, who has won 36 caps, last played in Serie A with AC Milan on-loan from Liverpool in the 2015-2016 season. Balotelli has been the victim of racism from fans in Italy in the past. "I hope from my heart to find a different league and not experience new episodes of racism," he said. First he has to complete a four-game suspension for a red card while playing for Marseille before he is set to make his debut on September 25 against Juventus.

More News For this Category

Dortmund flexing their muscles, Sancho must stay

Dortmund flexing their muscles, Sancho must stay

Borussia Dortmund are flexing their muscles in their efforts to keep England forward Jadon Sancho at the club.In the club's pre-season training-camp in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland, the 2012 German Champions

Greek defender Tsimikas joins Liverpool

Greek defender Tsimikas joins Liverpool

Greek defender Kostas Tsimikas has completed his transfer to Liverpool from Olympiacos, confirmed the English Premier League champion on Monday.Tsimikas, 24, became the first signing of the summer for the

Ronaldinho set for August 24 release

Ronaldinho set for August 24 release

AFP, Asuncion :Brazil great Ronaldinho could be freed on August 24 following five months detention in Paraguay over a forged passport, judicial sources told AFP on Monday.The former Barcelona, AC

Inter, Manchester United advance into UEFA Europa League semifinal

Inter, Manchester United advance into UEFA Europa League semifinal

Inter Milan secured their place in the UEFA Europa League semifinal after first-half goals from Nicolo Barella and Romelu Lukaku were enough to beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 while Manchester United

Bangladesh Football Federation election on October 3

Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) has decided to hold it's much talked about election on October 3. The decision was taken at the BFF executive committee meeting on Tuesday.The BFF election

Atletico Mineiro's Marrony (left) and Flamengo's Leo Pereira jump for a header during their first round match of the Brazilian Football Championship at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday.

Atletico Mineiro's Marrony (left) and Flamengo's Leo Pereira jump for a header during their first round match of the Brazilian Football Championship at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday.

.

Messi magic as Barca sink Napoli, Lewandowski dazzles as Bayern crush Chelsea

Messi magic as Barca sink Napoli, Lewandowski dazzles as Bayern crush Chelsea

Agency :A fired-up Lionel Messi led Barcelona to a 3-1 win at home to Napoli on Saturday for a 4-2 aggregate victory which took the club into the Champions

Man City knock Real Madrid out

Man City knock Real Madrid out

French defender Raphael Varane insisted on facing up to his two mistakes that helped Manchester City knock his Real Madrid side out of the Champions League on Friday and admitted:

Ronaldo`s brace in vain as Lyon oust Juve on goal aggregate

Ronaldo`s brace in vain as Lyon oust Juve on goal aggregate

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri said he was "bitter" as the Italian giants crashed out of the Champions League on Friday to Lyon despite a Cristiano Ronaldo double giving the hosts

Thiago Silva determined to go out on a high at PSG

Thiago Silva determined to go out on a high at PSG

AFP, Paris :Thiago Silva's eight years as a Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) player are about to come to an end and the Brazilian centre-back has one piece of unfinished business to