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Serie A Season Review

Under new coach José Mourinho, Inter Milan won a fourth consecutive title, the 17th in their history to move level with city rivals AC Milan as Serie A’s second most successful side behind Juventus. S.S. Lazio won the Coppa Italia while Torino FC, US Lecce and Reggina Calcio will all be playing in the second tier next season following relegation.

Champions: FC Internazionale Milano
Mourinho’s Inter started the season favourites after three straight titles under Roberto Mancini. They lived up to their billing, keeping nearest challengers Juventus and Milan at arm’s length and being crowned champions with three games to spare. The Nerazzurri had the joint best attacking record, conceded the fewest goals and were the only team not to lose at home. Taking into account his previous spells in charge of FC Porto and Chelsea FC, Mourinho is now unbeaten in 117 home league games.

Cup final: S.S. Lazio 1-1 UC Sampdoria (aet; Lazio won 6-5 on penalties)
After upsetting Juventus and Inter respectively in their semi-finals, Lazio and Sampdoria faced each other in the Coppa Italia final at the Stadio Olimpico. One of the season’s standout players, Argentinian forward Mauro Zárate (known as Zárate-Kid to Lazio fans) gave Delio Rossi’s outfit the lead and even though Sampdoria responded through Giampaolo Pazzini, it was the Rome side that came through in a penalty shoot-out.

European places:
FC Internazionale Milano – UEFA Champions League, group stage
Juventus – UEFA Champions League, group stage
AC Milan – UEFA Champions League, group stage
ACF Fiorentina – UEFA Champions League, third qualifying round
Genoa CFC – UEFA Europa League, play-off round
S.S. Lazio – UEFA Europa League, play-off round
AS Roma – UEFA Europa League, third qualifying round

Player of the Year: Marco Di Vaio (Bologna FC)
At 32 Di Vaio beat his personal record for goals in a season by scoring 24 for Bologna, who only avoided relegation on the campaign’s last day. Unsurprisingly, Di Vaio was on target again in that vital 3-1 victory against Calcio Catania. The former Parma FC and Juventus forward scored more than half of his side’s 43 goals and was only one goal behind Serie A’s leading scorer, Zlatan Ibrahimović.

One to watch: Davide Santon (FC Internazionale Milano)
Nicknamed ‘Il Bambino’ by José Mourinho, the full-back had an excellent first season with the Nerazzurri and drew comparisons with a young Paolo Maldini, the latter having started his Milan career aged 16 back in 1985 before retiring this year. Santon’s progress has been rapid: he made his debut in both the UEFA Champions League and at Under-21 level and has now been called up by Marcello Lippi to the senior Italy side.

Surprise package: Genoa CFC
Gian Piero Gasperini’s Genoa have arguably played the most attractive football in Serie A this term and were only one point from earning a first ever UEFA Champions League berth. Brazilian midfielder Thiago Motta – in top form after several serious injuries – and Argentinian forward Diego Milito (24 goals) were key members of a side which booked a return to European football.

Leading scorer: Zlatan Ibrahimović, Inter (25)

Number: 902
The number of appearances in competitive games made by Paolo Maldini for Milan before retiring – in 25 seasons at the Rossoneri, the defender won 26 trophies, included five European Champion Clubs’ Cup triumphs.

Quote
“If you rate between one and ten, I deserve an eight for my first season at Inter. We lost against Manchester United in the Champions League but did not lose our minds and managed to finish the job in Serie A.”
José Mourinho, Inter coach.

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