The 2012-13 Scudetto-winning season for Juventus is well in the books. I think we've already established that over the past two weeks. No game previews or recaps is usually a good tip off. Or the fact that people are talking transfers all the time rather than how frustrating Juve's strikers are most of the time.
Still, there have been ratings handed out for every player on the Juventus roster. I think we've done a thorough job of that if I do say so myself. But why not wrap things up like they do stateside, with some awards being handed out?
There won't be any kind of fancy set or music blasting in the background. Nah, we'll leave that for the professionals who get paid thousands of dollars to put on those whacky galas. We'll keep things low budget around these parts.
So, without further ado, time to hand out some hardware.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR - ARTURO VIDAL
Sometimes figuring out who the payer of the year is a difficult decision. Nope, not this year.
Vidal was every bit as good as he was last season — and then he took it to another level. He was not only Juventus' best player this season, but arguably the best in all of Serie A as well. He has grown into one of the symbols of Antonio Conte's Juventus — pressing, physicality, work ethic, and absolutely full of grinta.
For footy stat nerds, Vidal's WhoScored page is like the dirty movie you aren't afraid to say you're looking at. His Serie A stats are as follows:
Games played: 31
Goals scored: 10
Pass success percentage: 87
Tackles per game: 4.9
Interceptions per game: 1.5
Impressive ain't it? He really has become the MVP of the MVP midfield and of Conte's Juve.
Extend his contract and make sure he is in a Juventus jersey for as long as is humanly possible, dammit.
ALMOST PLAYER OF THE YEAR - ANDREA BARZAGLI
I've said it before and I'll say it again: The consistency in which Barzagli to continues to show is mind-boggling. But not in some kind of new way. He's been like this for 2 1/2 years now in Juventus jersey. But occasionally players go into bad spells of form. Not this guy. He gone from a guy who was looked at as a backup when he first arrived in January 2011 to now one of the best defenders in the world.
SIGNING OF THE SEASON - KWADWO ASAMOAH
What? You were expecting the double dose of Nicks, Bendtner and Anelka? Too bad!
Everybody not named Antonio Conte thought Asamoah was brought in from Udinese to be cover for the M-V-P midfield. Sure, we knew coming in that he was a very talented — but as a a central midfielder. Little did we know that Conte had other ideas for the Ghanian international: A conversion into a left wingback.
The move out to the left flank proved to be one of the most important for Juventus all season, as Asamoah took to his new position like he had been playing it for years.
You could say Paul Pogba deserved this more, but Asamoah's presence on the left wing was really something Juventus desperately needed more than anything else.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE SEASON - PAUL POGBA
As I've said in the past, I didn't really know what to expect from Paul Pogba at the beginning of the season. I mean, YouTube compilations from reserve games in England can only show you so much. ESPN had this little tidbit about the 20-year-old Frenchman, naming him one of the breakout stars in Europe this season:
The powerful central midfielder's talents have always been known, with his range of passing and quality of ball-striking strong features of his game since youth level. It has been remarkable, though, to see him transfer his abilities to senior level with such ease. Pogba has never lacked confidence, but the calm with which he has approached Champions League, Serie A and international football is highly impressive.
That last sentence is why Pogba is here. He never blinked even though he was new on the scene and still a teenager for most of his first season in Turin. He only got better as the season went on — some of that having to do with the way Conte managed
And let us not forget, he filled in for not one of the M-V-P trio, but all three of them. That's three different kind of roles you'd think that such a young player like Pogba wouldn't be able to pick up and handle. Instead, he excelled.
I think we'll be hearing from Pogba shortly. Not sure, but just a hunch.
GOAL OF THE SEASON - PAUL POGBA, JAN. 19 VS. UDINESE
Watch and learn, kids.
It seemed like almost every goal Pogba scored this season was pretty jaw-dropping in its own unique way, but this one clearly takes the cake. It was the first of a two-goal performance in a 4-0 win over Udinese at Juventus Stadium. The end result for Pogba was a perfect 10 rating from the folks at WhoScored. Just in case you were wondering: That's not exactly something that's all that common.
And you're telling me this guy just turned 20 years old a couple of months ago? Holy smokes.
In conclusion: Paul Pogba is a ninja.
SAVE(S) OF THE SEASON - GIGI BUFFON VS. INTER & GIGI BUFFON VS. CELTIC
I'm going with two. Why? Because I can.
These two saves, both courtesy of San Gigi himself, are different yet alike at the same time. In both the videos below, you'll see Buffon move across his for one reason or another and then, suddenly, have to go back across the grain to perform one of an acrobatic save. And while the saves below come from two completely different spots on the field, they are still equally as impressive for their own respective reasons.
Aren't goalkeepers supposed to see their reaction time and reflexes slow down a bit as they get older? Oh, that's right. Gianluigi Buffon is just the absolute best no matter how old he is.
BEST GAME OF THE SEASON
Any game the Nicklas Bendtner played in, maybe? Yeah, right. That joke is getting old.
I take you back to Nov. 20. Juventus needed to win to keep the chance and hope of going back to the Champions League alive. The defending European champs, Chelsea, were coming to town and basically in the same situation as their striped opponents.
The end result after 90 minutes at Juventus: Carnage, blue-jerseyed carnage. The attack that Chelsea spent tens of millions of pounds on had all of TWO shots on goal. Yeah, two. It was Juventus domination of the finest kind — one where the only thing more deafening than the Juventus Stadium crowd noise was the pressure Conte's players were putting on the opponent.
And not only that, but it got a manager fired. Well, maybe not just that, but it was the final nail in the coffin.