Serie A 2017/18: The best XI of the season
Fullbacks: Aleksander Kolarov (AS Roma) and Joao Cancelo (Inter Milan)
Kolarov turned back the calendar with his talismanic shows down the left-flank for the Giallorossis. In fact, he’s the best-rated player for the season from the whole squad by statistics website Squawka! Now that really means something even when you have the likes of Edin Dzeko, Radja Nainggolan, Daniel De Rossi et al in the team.
But he has the stats to back it up. He created as many as 74 chances in the league for Roma (the next best in the team is 53!) and his return of eight assists is the highest for a defender. Simply put, the 32-year old was at his marauding best and proved to be a terrific overlap in the attack.
His defensive side of the game is just as impressive - he won 66% of his headed duels and 61% of his take-ons. He also made 78 clearances. Roma had the second-best defensive record with just 28 goals conceded, and there’s no doubt about Kolarov’s crucial involvements in it.
Signed on loan from Valencia, Cancelo’s season threatened to derail even before it could take off when he sustained a knock to the ligament early on in the season. But he recovered gradually and once at full strength, there was no stopping him.
The Portuguese right-back went on to establish himself as an important member in the side and also weigh in with three assists and a goal. His defensive duties were just fine, but he excelled in Spaletti’s possession tactics with his incisive passes that continually pushed Inter forward.
His stellar season has espied the eye of Manchester United, who's reportedly scouting him to replace the out-of-favor Matteo Darmian.