Wink wonder: Cristiano Ronaldo named Serie A ‘MVP’ after debut season with Juventus

Reuters / ALBERTO LINGRIA / Free

Record-breaking Portuguese winger Cristiano Ronaldo had a memorable first year in the colors of Juventus following his big-money move from Madrid last summer, topped off by being named Italian football’s ‘Most Valuable Player’.

Ronaldo, a five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or, was a key influence as Juventus claimed their eighth successive Scudetto ahead of second-placed Napoli, wracking up 21 league goals en route to the title.

In addition to his goal tally, he laid on 11 assists for his teammates as Max Allegri’s powerhouse side dropped just 19 points so far this season.

His efforts have been suitably rewarded with the league’s ‘MVP’ award, which takes into account the player’s productivity in both scoring goals and assisting teammates. The award is officially recognized by the league, with data tallied by Opta Sports and Netco Sports.

Ronaldo will be awarded the trophy prior to the final league game of the season, where it will soon be added to the player’s ever-expanding trophy cabinet which already features similar prizes from both the Spanish and English leagues.

Kalidou Koulibaly, Napoli’s Senegalese star who is currently heavily linked to a move to Manchester United this summer, was named Serie A’s best defensive player due in part to Napoli’s second placed finish in a season which saw him contribute to a mean defence which shipped just 32 goals so far this season – with Koulibaly contributing 11 clean sheets. 

Samir Handanovic of Inter Milan was named the best goalkeeper in the league, with Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic designated as the best midfielder. 

The evergreen Fabio Quagliarella, now 36-years-old, pipped Ronaldo to the title of the league’s best striker while Roma’s exciting teenager Nicolo Zaniola was selected as the best young player. 

However, despite his undoubted talents some observers have questioned whether or not Ronaldo is deserving of the ‘MVP’ award. He didn’t finish as either the league’s top goalscorer, nor did he plunder the most assists, facts which have led to speculation that he was awarded the prize for his reputation rather than his impact on the pitch.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo has headed praise on the man who helped him claim this award, Max Allegri. The Juventus boss has announced that he will depart the Italian giants in the summer, ending a sequence of unprecedented success in Turin.

He wrote on Instagram: “Thank you mister! We only lived a year together but it has been exceptional because other than being a great manager, you are a great man. 

It has been a pleasure to work with you.”

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