From Belotti to Pogba: Ten Serie A Stars Seeking Redemption in 2023/24

At the highest level of the echelon, a football career can make for a fascinating story. Between the highs and the lows, the triumphs and the agonies, each chapter has its own captivating plot. Yet, there’s nothing quite inspiring like a good old redemption tale. This one often features a fallen star who was abandoned by bandwagon supporters and counted out by pundits, only to rise from the ashes and revive his playing career.

Whether they’re trying to overcome devastating injuries or bounce back from disappointing campaigns, the ten Serie A stars on our list all have one thing in common: Being hellbent on redemption.

Marko Arnautovic (Inter)

This may well be the ultimate redemption story, one that has been in the making for 13 years. In 2009, Marko Arnautovic arrived at Inter as a young prospect with a large ego befitting his scintillating talent, but he failed to make himself noticed in José Mourinho’s star-studded formation.

Afterwards, the Austrian embarked on a nomadic career, wandering between several European leagues. So who would have thought that at the age of 34, the bomber would earn another chance to leave a mark at the Giuseppe Meazza?

The veteran striker made his re-debut for the club last Saturday, providing a brilliant assist to Lautaro Martinez. He’s now pushing for a starting berth alongside the Argentine captain at Marcus Thuram’s expense.

Andrea Belotti (Roma)

Last season, Andrea Belotti was definitely one of the biggest disappointments in the entire league. The Italian hitman astonishingly failed to score a single Serie A goal in his maiden campaign at Trigoria, only contributing with three Europa League strikes. This was a major fall from grace for a player who was once the most celebrated star at Torino.

Hence, watching ll Gallo break his duck by scoring a brace on the opening day of the season was a heartwarming sight, not just for Roma supporters, but any Calcio fan who appreciates the 29-year-old and all that he’s given to Italian football.

Tops and Flops of Serie A Round 1: Majestic Candreva Stuns Roma

Charles De Ketelaere (Atalanta)

When Charles De Ketelaere was unveiled as a new Atalanta player, the young man pulled off cringe-worthy poses during his photo shoot, prompting a storm of mockery from fans on social media. In truth, the fact that he was coming off a disastrous campaign at Milan didn’t help his case.

But if his poses had sparked amusement, then his Atalanta debut had Orobici supporters delighted as Atalanta obviously have a rough diamond in their hand. And who better than Gian Piero Gasperini to do the polishing?

The attacking midfielder finally scored his maiden Serie A goal, even if the ball barely passed the line. But aside from the header, the young man appeared both inspired and determined.

This wouldn’t be the first Serie A redemption story written in Bergamo.

Stefan De Vrij (Inter)

During Inter’s Scudetto-winning campaign, Stefan de Vrij was arguably the best defender in the league alongside his former teammate Milan Skriniar. But since Antonio Conte’s departure and Simone Inzaghi’s arrival, the Dutchman hasn’t quite been the same, even though he’s playing under the guidance of a manager who oversaw his memorable stint at Lazio.

At the age of 31, the Netherlands international should have several good years left in the tank given his playing position. But last season, he surprisingly lost his starting spot for 35-year-old Francesco Acerbi.

However, the latter’s injury gave de Vrij an opening, and he produced a decent display at the back against Monza, albeit in a relatively easy test. This could be a step in the right direction.

Arthur Melo (Fiorentina)

In the last three years or so, Arthur Melo’s career has gone rogue. The Brazilian joined Juventus in a doomed exchange deal that saw Miralem Pjanic sign for Barcelona. Neither player has enjoyed his football ever since.

Following two underwhelming seasons at Juventus and a shambolic, injury-laden loan stint at Liverpool, most fans and observers gave up on the 27-year-old.

Yet, Fiorentina decided to bet on the former Gremio man, even if meant shaking hands with their most hated rivals. In his Viola debut, Arthur produced a masterclass display in the middle of the park, orchestrating his team’s 4-1 victory over Genoa in what could be the beginning of a true revival in the city that gave birth to the Renaissance era.

Serie A 2023/24 Season Preview & Predictions: Where Will Every Club Land?

M’Bala Nzola (Fiorentina)

Whether M’Bala Nzola is the right profile to spearhead Fiorentina’s charge this season or not remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: This will be a pivotal campaign in the 27-year-old’s career after earning a move to one of the historic Seven Sisters in Serie A.

Before making the switch to Florence, the Angolan striker was last seen missing a crucial spot-kick in the dramatic Serie A relegation playoff between Spezia and Verona. This culminated in his side’s demotion to Serie B.

So while his shortcomings condemned his former Aquilotti teammates to second-tier demotion, Nzola was awarded a significant career step-up. Hence, it will be up to the big striker to make the best out of the opportunity and show that he truly belongs to the top flight.

Leandro Paredes (Roma)

After Arthur Melo, here’s another deep-lying playmaker who endured a torrid time at Juventus. But luckily for Leandro Paredes, Roma always has a soft spot for its lost sons. The Giallorossi decided to bet on their former player despite his uninspiring campaign in Turin.

So it will be interesting to see the dynamics between the hot-headed Argentine and the Special One. This could either flourish into a fabulous collaboration, or escalate into a turbulent rapport.

Paul Pogba (Juventus)

When Paul Pogba made his vastly anticipated return to Turin, Juventus fans were jubilant as they embraced the young lad who developed into a world-class midfielder before their eyes.

But sadly, the happy occasion rapidly turned sour when the Frenchman sustained a meniscus injury just weeks following his return. So between recurring injuries, ill-advised alternative treatments, surgeries, off-field family feuds and even an extortion case, this was indeed the perfect storm.

Thus, Pogba was hardly able to take the field last season. He only made a single start, and it unsurprisingly ended with an injury after 20 minutes. Yet, amidst all the physical struggles and the broken bones, a certain glimpse of brilliance never escaped the player’s touch.

So if he manages to overcome the culminating injury problems and return to being a pillar on the pitch, this would truly be a sensational redemption story authored by one of the most beloved international stars in Serie A.

Juventus Player Ratings vs Udinese: Impressive Debut for Cambiaso

Christian Pulisic (Milan)

Unlike all other stars on the list, Christian Pulisic is a Serie A newcomer. Yet, Captain America has endured several underwhelming campaigns in West London to warrant the mention. The winger is looking to put his career back on track and restore the aura that surrounded him during his earlier years.

The 24-year-old was reduced to an afterthought at a Chelsea side that frantically signed new players without showing any signs of constraint. The USMNT star, like several others, was lost in the shuffle, becoming surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge.

Luckily for the former Dortmund man, he found himself new accommodation at Milan. Stefano Pioli is obviously counting on the American’s talent, trusting him to set the right flank ablaze, and the early signs were surely promising.

Dusan Vlahovic (Juventus)

Finally, this one is a rather strange case. From tormentor to tormented. The rapid decline of Dusan Vlahovic since his arrival at Juventus has been a frightening sight for Bianconeri supporters.

At the age of 23, this early-career crisis is almost inexplicable for a player who not so long ago was deemed to be the best young striker on the planet, with only Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappé ahead of him in the pecking order.

But when recurring groin pain and his club’s struggles are taken into account, the situation becomes slightly more logical but no less concerning.

Nevertheless, the Serbian’s physical condition has apparently improved over the summer, and perhaps the same can be said regarding his club’s situation, at least based on the opening matchday.

But the most intriguing plot in this storyline is the fact that Juventus spent the summer transfer session trying to rid themselves of Vlahovic, at one point plotting an exchange deal with Chelsea in their bizarre attempt to lure in Romelu Lukaku.

So watching the former Fiorentina star celebrate his opening-day spot-kick goal in Udine while embracing the away supporters was certainly a heartwarming scene for many.

The black-and-white fanbase has always reiterated its unconditional support for the young bomber, especially when he appeared to have one foot out of the door.

So will shall see if the Serbian will manage to reclaim his place as one of the most menacing hitmen in Serie A in what would be a fascinating redemption story.

Follow us on Google News for more updates on Serie A and Italian football