Riccio on Serie A: End of season awards

Arturo Vidal, right, was a key player for Juventus this season. (AP)

Let’s take this opportunity to look back at the 2012-13 Serie A campaign that was by handing out the end of season awards.

Manager of the Year – Vincezo Montella (Fiorentina)

With five minutes left to play in the Serie A season, Vincenzo Montella had Fiorentina in a Champions League position. Milan then received a fortunate penalty call against Siena and a late winner from Philippe Mexes to take that spot away from La Viola. Despite the failure to secure a Champions League place it cannot be understated the wonders the former Roma striker worked with the Tuscan club. He revived the careers of veteran players Borja Valero, David Pizarro, Luca Toni and Alberto Aquilani. On the flip side, he took a troubled youngster in Adem Llajic and helped him realize his potential. All the while playing beautiful football, and earning results.

Honorable Mentions: Antonio Conte (Juventus) and Massimiliano Allegri (Milan)

Best Transfer – Alessio Cerci (Fiorentina to Torino)

What seemed to be the story of another promising youngster never reaching the lofty expectations put on him by club and country is now a great story of how Alessio Cerci turned his career around and may become a focal point of the Azzurri going forward. Not only that, but he was the main reason Torino staved off relegation this season. Eight goals and eight assists have caught the eye of many clubs around Italy, but if he is on the move again it will be for quite a bit more than the €2.5 million Torino paid last summer.

Honourable Mentions: Alberto Aquilani (Liverpool to Fiorentina, €4M) Paul Pogba (Manchester United to Juventus, Free) Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina to Milan, Free) Samir Handanovic (Udinese to Inter, €11M)

Goalkeeper of the Year – Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)

The Juventus captain just continues to be the glue that holds Juventus together on the pitch. He has commanded the league’s best defence for two years running and does not seem to be slowing down. He may not be able to make all the saves he once did, but Buffon commands his area better than any ‘keeper in the world all the while making sure his defence stays organized. Steady as she goes, Gigi is still the best stopper in Serie A.

Honourable mentions: Samir Handanovic (Inter), Federico Marchetti (Lazio)

Young Player of the Year: Stephen El Shaarawy (Milan)

He could have been the player of the year had he not slowed down after the arrival of Mario Balotelli. But despite hitting a wall at the end of January, the Italian international still scored 16 goals this season, good enough for third in the league, and can largely be considered as the reason Milan were still in the race for a Champions League spot at the time of Super Mario’s arrival. The sky is the limit with this youngster and if he can learn to work with Balotelli, together they have the talent to achieve great things.

Honourable Mentions: Adam Llajic (Fiorentina), Erik Lamela (Roma)

Player of the Year: Arturo Vidal (Juventus)

At times the love for Claudio Marchisio and Andrea Pirlo overshadows just how important the Chilean is to Juventus. But many of Juventini around the world will tell you Vidal was their MVP this year, and in fact the club named him its player of the year. Vidal combines everything you want in a midfielder: high work rate, great vision, tackling ability, intelligence, he can test the goalkeeper from long range, and will continuously tire defenders with dashing runs into the opposing team’s areas. He scored 10 goals, but also led the team in assists. The trouble Juventus will have is keeping Vidal for the long-term, as the giants in Europe are already looking to pry him away from the Bianconeri.

Honourable Mention: Edinson Cavani (Napoli)

Dan Riccio is the host of the European Football Weekly podcast on Sportsnet 590 The FAN. Listen to the podcast HERE and follow Dan on Twitter.

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