There were some minor disappointments scattered through the season for the Juventus women’s team. It was another early exit from the Champions League and the domestic double escaped Juventus due to away goals but even with those struggles, it was a season to remember.
It was 22 games of perfection in league play and there were plenty of moments along the way that will not be soon forgotten. It takes some pretty special performances to finish off a perfect season so before the offseason news completely takes over, let’s take a look back at some of the best.
Most Valuable Player: Lisa Boattin
Rita Guarino has never been a stranger to squad rotation and that didn’t change this year when the club’s depth was out in full force, especially in the midfield and attacking line. And while there was some depth to show off on the back line, there was one constant who never changed. It wasn’t the experienced Linda Sembrant this time as she stepped aside for 23-year-old star Lisa Boattin. She started in all 22 league matches and played the full 90 in 16 of those matches, helping to keep clean sheets in 10 of them. Between injuries and illnesses, Boattin was rarely paired with the same players on the backline from week to week and she even bounced between her natural position at fullback and playing in the center of the defense. But it never seemed to matter. There’s no doubt Juventus was stronger due to their numbers and talent in the attack, but those players often got their freedom from the steadiness Boattin provided in the back.
And despite all of the changes coming Juventus’ way next season, Boattin is expected to still be that constant in the defense for years to come.
Honorable Mention: Cristiana Girelli, Barbara Bonansea
Best Young Player: Andrea Stašková
There are plenty of strong candidates for this award and it may just come down to how you want to truly define “young player.” But no matter where you land on the qualifications, Andrea Stašková is in the debate every single time. She was the only player other than Boattin to feature in all 22 league matches, coming off the bench 14 times. Stašková was the spark off the bench to help finish off several wins as she finished with eight goals and five assists. She was second on the team in goals plus assists per 90 minutes and she even jumps to first when you remove Girelli’s seven penalties. Stašková got more and more chances as the season went on and she could be the next big thing in Europe when she makes her way into a permanent starting position over the next couple of seasons in Turin.
Honorable Mention: Arianna Caruso, Matilde Lundorf
Most Improved Player: Cecilia Salvai
This may not make much sense on the surface as everyone has known how good of a player Salvai was when she debuted for Juventus in 2017. But it has been quite a journey for her over the past two years for Salvai, who dealt with a knee injury and some extra missed time early in the 2020-21 season after testing positive for COVID-19. However, every time Salvai stepped on the field, she never looked like a player who had missed a lot of time. For a player who was getting her first extended minutes since tearing an ACL, Salvai provided some great play on the back line and her height helped her to be a threat in the air, providing a goal and two assists from set pieces. From only getting to play three matches last season to once again being one of the best defenders on the team, it’s hard to argue Salvai didn’t show the most improvement.
Honorable Mention: Maria Alves, Martina Rosucci
Best Newcomer: Lina Hurtig
One of the more disappointing moments of the league season was when Hurtig was taken off in Matchweek 19 due to a muscle injury. She was selected to the squad in the final three matches but she never returned to the field. Even though Juventus may not have needed her in those final days, it was sad not to see the team’s best offseason addition not make it to the finish line, especially with the form she was in. Hurtig provided a goal or an assist in nine of the final 11 games she played for the club. You can also throw in goals at the international level against Austria, Poland and USA during that span.
Hurtig’s playing time was another victim of the club’s attacking depth, but she made the most of her time on the pitch, finishing with 1.22 goals plus assists per 90 minutes.
Honorable Mention: Dalila Ippolito, Matilde Lundorf
Best Individual Performance: Barbara Bonansea vs. Empoli, Feb. 6, 2021
It cannot be overstated how much fun it is to watch Bonansea play when she is healthy and we should all consider ourselves lucky to enjoy her play for at least one more season with Juventus. One of the vintage performances from Bonansea came back in February when Juventus traveled to Empoli for a tough match against a team it barely squeaked by at home just a couple of months prior. Bonansea got her start in a front three with Hurtig and Girelli and the three dominated from start to finish. Bonansea may have technically started on the right wing but she naturally drifted into the center and constantly fed balls into the game’s two goal scorers, offering plenty of chances for them. Girelli ended up with another brace while Hurtig slotted home another in a 3-0 win with Bonansea providing all three assists.
Honorable Mention: Girelli vs. Pink Bari 3/28, Pederson vs. Hellas Verona 1/24
Best Team Performance: 4-1 win vs. Roma, Dec. 12, 2020
Looking back at the timing of this performance may be a little painful because it could have been more fun if it came a few days earlier or a few days later. However, the timing also may be the most impressive part of the performance. Three days after laying it all on the line in a Champions League match against defending champion Lyon, Juventus had to host a very formidable opponent in Roma. And while the second leg against Lyon lingered, it was clear from the start there was no lack of motivation or energy from Juventus. Girelli scored the first of her two goals off an assist from Arianna Caruso in the 12th minute and the team never looked back. Juventus scored three goals in the first half and Hurtig capped off the night with a goal in the 89th minute to seal the three points.
Honorable Mention: 5-0 win vs. Inter, 4-0 win vs. Milan
I refused to choose a winner for this award as I couldn’t decide, so I will let you fight over these three nominees in the comments.
The first is a goal that I will always believe was completely on purpose despite the arguments from other people online. This touch by Bonansea to lift it over the Empoli keeper is just remarkable.
Next up is a lovely free kick from Valentina Cernoia. Left-footed free kicks always look better to me for some reason, and this is just perfection.
Speaking of perfection, here is Girelli making sure she is not outdone with placement. How is this even possible? I didn’t even know the ball could fit through that space in the goal. Just an unreal finish.