6 best Serie A moments of 2018: Ronaldo, Bonucci and Juve's seventh Scudetto
Chloe Beresford from www.flofc.com takes a closer look at 2018 and how special this year had become for the Old Lady and the whole of Italian football - a league full of vivid colours and wild excitement
1. Cristiano Ronaldo Comes To Serie A
The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin was announced during the World Cup final, his move from Real Madrid totally unexpected for many. Juventus supporters have revelled in the opportunity to see one of the world’s best players in Serie A, but so have supporters of other teams.
Tickets for matches at various stadiums around the country have become like gold dust when Juventus are in town, with Empoli press officer Marco Patinostro having revealed that he received over 1,000 inquiries via email once their match with the Bianconeri was announced. The superstar’s arrival can only serve to benefit the league in terms of attracting attention from abroad, a factor that can be seen as a blessing and a curse in equal measure.
2. Juve Win Historic Seventh Title
Gonzalo Higuain was Juve’s key man in the title race, his 89th-minute strike away to Inter sealing victory in dramatic fashion just one week after the disappointment versus Napoli.
No team had ever won more than five consecutive Scudetti in the history of Serie A, but Juventus had made it seven in a row by the end of May 2018. Indeed, a look at the cumulative total for Max Allegri’s men during the entirety of the calendar year reveals that they earned 101 points, more than any other side in Europe’s top leagues.
It was not all tears of joy though, as supporters said farewell to legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon at the end of the campaign after 17 years in Bianconero, the stopper moving on to a new challenge at Paris Saint Germain. Fans also said goodbye to club favourite Claudio Marchisio early in the new campaign.
3. Bonucci Celebrates . . . Then Makes A Return
Leonardo Bonucci caused shock waves across world football when he made the switch from Juventus to AC Milan in summer 2017, but the controversy would not die down once 2018 began. On March 31, the defender not only scored versus his former side, but took the opportunity to fully celebrate his goal at his former home thanks to the frosty reception he received.
Just five months later, he returned to Juve with his tail between his legs as he opted to re-sign for the club he so acrimoniously left.
4. Kalidou Koulibaly Shocks Juve
It was billed as the title-deciding match as Napoli traveled to Turin in late April, as a win for the visitors would see them close the gap to Juventus to just one point with four games remaining. It would be no easy task, however, as the all-dominant Old Lady had never lost to Napoli at the Allianz Stadium since it opened in September 2011.
As the match grew closer to its conclusion, the play became ever edgier, neither side wishing to show their hand by pushing forward for the win. Yet in the 89th minute, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly rose up from a corner with a towering header that sent the world of football into sheer shock — for a moment, Napoli seemed on the verge of overthrowing the Turin giants.
It turned out not to be for the Partenopei, as a defeat to Fiorentina in the next match ended their hopes of stopping Juve from winning a seventh consecutive Scudetto, but this remained a truly dramatic moment in the story of the 2017-18 campaign.
5. Florence Unites For Davide Astori
6. Quagliarella’s Outrageous Strikes
At the age of 35, Sampdoria striker Fabio Quagliarella has been in the form of his life during 2018, scoring a total of 31 goals in the 12-month period of what can only be described a veritable renaissance. Now free from the stalket nightmare that had to remain a secret for a long period of his career, the veteran is firing in the most audacious kind of goals, with backheel strikes and outrageous volleys delighting all those who watch him.