You call it soccer(lens) then there must be quarters. If so, Serie A has just passed the first quarter, which certainly means that there’s a lot to go even until halftime but a lot of things have happened since August and there are guys who made such great impressions that you can now take wild guesses who will be members of the Team of 2007-08. In my selection for the first quarter I’ve chosen a 4-3-3 formation for a simple reason: there’s no way I’d leave Pazzini out!
Jimmy Fontana (Palermo)
The funny looking guy who you’d rather expect to see in a pub coming up with nasty jokes rather than flying in front of a goal with astonishing speed and precision. Sat his bottom hard on the Inter bench then fell out with Serie A’s little donkeys of Verona but since then he has been outstanding in Palermo. For the upward rides of his team’s roller coaster season he deserves a huge grazie from his teammates and while Frey is still outstanding, Julio Cesar is reliable and Buffon is still from the top drawer I say not helped by an outstanding defence he is the one who ruled the first quarter!
Lorenzo De Silvestri (Lazio)
All right, I’ve gone completely crazy, I give you that. Choosing a defender from Lazio, who won only twice, scored only 9 goals and are 7th — from the bottom! But with an entire hospital ward filled with Lazio defenders they finally came up with something to cheer for in the panty-blue half of the Olimpico: a great right back. At the age of 19 you don’t see youngsters storming back and forth nutmegging defenders and running down midfielders, do you? Inspired curls he already makes, a couple of pounds of muscle and some vital experience and it’s good bye to Oddo!
Alessandro Gamberini (Fiorentina)
While the entire Milan-primaveras’ sides are shaking with laughter at Nesta and Maldini, Materazzi is headbutting nurses and doctors for bad hospital-food and Mexes can’t really find pace with Juan who else is there to bite through throats of strikers? Yes, Fiorentina (like last year) received a barely noticeable amount of goals and let alone the genius of Frey it is the Dainelli-Gamberini pair that made it possible. The Viola played Milan, Juve and Roma (not to mention all 3 of their Tuscan-derbies) and came out undefeated. Good luck to all Serie A strikers brave enough to go close to our man here…
Alessandro Lucarelli (Genoa)
There’s a nest of good footballers who are named Lucarelli in Livorno. The Genoa central defender doesn’t score as many goals as Shakhtar’s old pinko but let me draw your attention to the fact that Genoa is fifth and received 3 of their 8 goals in their Serie A debut vs. Milan, which means that their defence allowed only 5 goals in 7 games. He may not be very fast but is clearly the captain of his men at the back office of Rossoblu. Wanna know more? Ask Del Piero and Trezeguet, they’ll remember last week.
There are two things altogether you can’t do with Inter defenders: get past them and like them. The love-child of Jack, the ripper and Nosferatu certainly had a lot to learn from the other messengers of death at Inter defense (Materazzi, Burdisso, Samuel — my shin pad broke in my bag as I wrote the names down) being originally a midfielder but has sure grown up to be one of Serie A’s best left backs. Is this the year when Inter finally win something that counts? If so, Maxwell will have his share in it.
Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina)
Already an Azzuri international the young playmaker is considered to be the new Pirlo. He doesn’t have the age and confidence to openly criticise Prandelli for not sending him up as trequartista, which he claims to be his position but at the lower edge of Fiorentina’s attacking diamond Ricardo does what he has to. Wenger has a perfect smell (and a beautiful nose to help it) sniffing around Fiorentina in search for someone to replace Rosicky. He will do more than that, I assure you.
Esteban Cambiasso (Inter)
Thank God, someone gave him a mirror and made him lose that mop from the top, which made him look like worn-out pigeon. Not that he’d stop for a second for you to inspect his new hairdo, he is busy pouring salt into the wounds he scratches on various parts of pride and body of the opponents’ playmakers. With Vieira sidelined (for an additional period as we learnt this week) he is responsible for providing the stability of Inter’s midfield that is crucial for the wings to fly free since uncle Figo has never tackled anybody during his 125 years career. And our man here does just that!
Clerence Seedorf (Milan)
God loaned the ebony tulip his left leg and he makes good use of it. Shoots like a mortar passes like Magic Johnson and what’s even more vital he knows exactly which one to do in a given situation. However, Milan is plummeting with 3 engines on fire but the one that is working is not the surprisingly feeble Kaká, not the not-so-surprisingly faint Gilardino but our forever young leftie, Seedorf. Milan’s Christmas-tree formation (sometimes they call it a slide as it is shifted to the left due to Clerence) has only one player this year who fills his role.
Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli)
Ezekiel 25:17 — the path (to the goal) of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men (defenders — evil they are!). Blessed is he who (finally can score goals for a team packed with youngsters), in the name of charity and good will (which means he will not be signed by Inter), shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness (darkness it would be in Naples without him…). For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee (A lot of times, I predict around 15 by the end of June) with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you (leading Napoli to the UEFA-cup).
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter)
A typical example for a player you can only like if he plays for your team. And you want him to play for your team if you have an eye! Zlatan may be as honourable as a Columbian customs officer but no one cares as long as he preoccupies two defenders, each with due fear in their hearts. He goes past and if he can’t he literally goes through! As far as I am concerned he is one of the most likely contestant for the Golden Shoe (along with the surprise participant, Benzema) and should he maintain his form and dribble injuries, too he is more than likely to score over 25 goals this season.
Gianpaolo Pazzini (Fiorentina)
When Luca Toni was sold to Bayern and the Viola were not busy looking for a replacement I thought there would be too much pressure on Pazzini. Remember Nesta’s tears at San Siro? Last weeks scissor-kick goal and what’s more his back-heel assist to Mutu? So how do you think he handled the pressure? Yes, he is the guy to score the first goal in the new Wembley (which later grew to be the first hat trick, too) and has everything Luca had plus a decided bonus of a brilliant sense of passing. He is still a little young and inexperienced for a center but fits perfectly to either a 4-4-2 or a side of a 4-3-3 so keep an eye on him!
Do you think Bence is right, or has he lost his marbles? Who would you put in your Serie A Team of the Season? Let us know in the comments below.