Ranking the 10 best players in Serie A this year (2021)

Despite leaving Serie A, Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the league's best players in 2021.
Despite leaving Serie A, Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the league's best players in 2021.

Italy's triumph at Euro 2020 depicted Serie A in a new light, one that it had not been in a long time. The Italian Serie A was widely regarded as a defensive league due to the sturdy defensive set-ups employed by teams in the league. Under Roberto Mancini at Euro 2020, the Italians played a free-flowing possession-based style.

In recent years, Serie A has seen the growth of a number of attack-minded coaches, and this has brought a more expansive style of play to the league.

In 2021, for the first time in nine years, a club not named Juventus won the league title in Italy after Antonio Conte inspired his Internazionale side to the Scudetto.

A good number of players performed excellently in Serie A in 2021, and here is our list of the ten best players in Serie A in 2021.


#10 Stefan De Vrij

Hellas Verona FC v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Hellas Verona FC v FC Internazionale - Serie A

Inter Milan defender Stefan De Vrij made 34 Serie A appearances for the club in 2021. The Dutch centre-back was a regular for Antonio Conte's title-winning Nerazzurri side and has been just as important to Conte's successor Simone Inzaghi.

In his Serie A appearances this year, the defender has helped his side keep 15 clean sheets. The 29-year-old makes an immense difference for Inter Milan whenever he plays with his intelligent reading of the game.


#9 Nicolo Barella

FC Internazionale v Cagliari Calcio - Serie A
FC Internazionale v Cagliari Calcio - Serie A

Nicolo Barella recently signed a bumper contract with Inter Milan and has been confirmed as the club's next captain for the 2022-23 season. Much of the work to earn such trust from the club was done this year in Serie A. The Italian midfielder has been ever-present for Inter Milan in 2021, racking up 39 appearances. The 24-year-old contributed three goals and ten assists for Inter Milan over the course of the year.

Barella was one of the stars for Italy at Euro 2020 where he played in all but one of the matches for the victorious Italian side, scoring once and assisting two goals.


#8 Federico Chiesa

Juventus v Atalanta BC - Serie A
Juventus v Atalanta BC - Serie A

Juventus winger Federico Chiesa had an impressive year in 2021 for club and country. The youngster had a rapid rise to stardom playing for Juventus, for whom he made 33 Serie A appearances in 2021. He became one of the most important players for the Bianconeri, contributing eight goals and six assists in Serie A.

Chiesa also played a starring role for Italy at Euro 2020 as he played in every match and scored two crucial goals as they went on to win the title.


#7 Hakan Calhanoglu

FC Internazionale v Cagliari Calcio - Serie A
FC Internazionale v Cagliari Calcio - Serie A

Turkish international Hakan Calhanoglu is the latest player to cross the Milan divide in Serie A. He moved from AC Milan to Inter Milan on a free transfer in the summer. The Turkish midfielder represented and was impressive for AC Milan as they reached the UEFA Champions League after a long absence from the tournament.

He made 36 appearances in Serie A in 2021, contributing nine goals and 11 assists. The 27-year-old midfield maestro has been a key player for Simone Inzaghi's side since his transfer from city rivals AC Milan.


#6 Lautaro Martinez

FC Internazionale v Cagliari Calcio - Serie A
FC Internazionale v Cagliari Calcio - Serie A

Lautaro Martinez was certainly one of the best players in Serie A in 2021 after he helped Inter Milan win the Serie A title. The Argentine striker struck up a formidable partnership with strike partner Romelu Lukaku at the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium.

Lautaro Martinez made 41 Serie A appearances in 2021 and contributed 22 goals and five assists. Martinez was also a member of the victorious Argentina side that claimed the 2021 Copa America trophy in Brazil.


#5 Franck Kessie

AC Milan v Hellas Verona FC - Serie A
AC Milan v Hellas Verona FC - Serie A

Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessie is another player who has had a remarkable year in Serie A. The 25-year-old AC Milan midfielder was ever-present for the Rossoneri in 2021, where he made 40 appearances in Serie A for the club. The midfielder contributed 13 goals and three assists for AC Milan in Serie A in 2021.

Known for his powerful runs into the box and ability to get past his marker with tidy touches, Kessie has distinguished himself as a top-quality footballer in Serie A. The Ivorian midfielder was also part of his country's squad for the Tokyo Olympics, where they were eliminated in the quarterfinals.


#4 Lorenzo Insigne

US Sassuolo v SSC Napoli - Serie A
US Sassuolo v SSC Napoli - Serie A

SSC Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne definitely impressed in Serie A in 2021 for his side. The Italian winger played an important role in his side's push for a place in the UEFA Champions League at the end of the 2020/21 season. He has also been instrumental to the club this season in Serie A.

The diminutive forward made 40 Serie A appearances in 2021 with a handsome return of 18 goals and ten assists for the club. Insigne carried his Serie A form to the Italian national team at Euro 2020 as he played a key role for their victorious side. He played in all but one of their matches in the competition and scored two goals.


#3 Cristiano Ronaldo

Udinese Calcio v Juventus - Serie A
Udinese Calcio v Juventus - Serie A

Despite leaving Italy in August, Cristiano Ronaldo was among the best players in Serie A in 2021. The Portuguese forward almost single-handedly carried his Juventus side throughout the year, and they have struggled badly since his exit from the team.

Ronaldo made 24 appearances for Juventus in Serie A this year and contributed 17 goals with two assists for the Bianconeri. He won the Capocannoniere - Serie A's golden boot - in 2021. The forward had an amazing conversion rate for Juventus as he became the fastest player in Serie A history to reach 100 goals. It took him only 131 Serie A games to score a century of goals for Juventus. In the process, Ronaldo became the first player to reach the 100-goal mark in less than three seasons.

Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Juventus to the Coppa Italia title before leaving the club at the start of the 2021/22 season for Manchester United.


#2 Romelu Lukaku

FC Internazionale Milano v Udinese Calcio - Serie A
FC Internazionale Milano v Udinese Calcio - Serie A

Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku became a fan favorite during his time at the Giuseppe Meazza with Inter Milan. The 28-year-old striker was key to his side's Serie A title in 2021 as he helped them end a wait of ten years for the Scudetto.

Lukaku made 23 Serie A appearances for Inter Milan in 2021 and chipped in with 13 goals and nine assists for Inter as they ran away with the Serie A title under Antonio Conte. Lukaku played an integral role for Inter Milan under Conte as he inspired his side to glory in the league with his dynamic displays at the top end of the pitch.

Lukaku built an impeccable understanding with strike partner Lautaro Martinez for Inter Milan. The striker completed a club-record move to Chelsea after his valuation was met.


#1 Dusan Vlahovic

Udinese Calcio v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A
Udinese Calcio v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A

No Serie A list in 2021 is complete without including Dusan Vlahovic. The 21-year-old striker has been the league's most consistent player by far this year. In what was his breakout year at the top level, Vlahovic managed to score 33 Serie A goals in 43 appearances.

His brilliant goal haul saw him equal the record for most goals in a calendar year set by Cristiano Ronaldo. The youngster achieved this while playing for a Fiorentina side that is mid-table quality, at best.

Vlahovic has his mind set on a move elsewhere after he rejected an offer of a contract extension from Fiorentina. With his contract due to expire next season, clubs are already circling around the prodigy to improve their attack.

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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