Best XI Serie A Players at AFCON: Milan and Napoli Stars Included

Last week, calcio fans were rejoiced to see their favorite clubs return to action (despite all the drama related to the latest Covid-19 outbreak). However, some of our biggest Serie A stars were nowhere to be seen in the Italian peninsula, as they’re now taking part in the the African cup of Nations that kicked off last Sunday.

Therefore, The Cult of Calcio will be keeping an eye on the ongoing continental tournament and keep you updated with a special coverage. So let’s check out the Best XI Serie A players who have been called up for AFCON.

Goalkeeper: Sheikh Sibi (Gambia/Virtus Verona)

Well, we had to do some cheating for this one, as no Serie A goalkeepers will be taking part in AFCON.

So Virtus Verona shot-stopper Sheikh Sibi is as close as we could get, with the Serie C player receiving a call-up from The Gambia, perhaps as a third choice goalkeeper.

But it still counts in our book!

Right Back: Ola Aina (Nigeria/Torino)

The former Chelsea man used to represent England’s youth ranks, but eventually, Nigeria offered him the opportunity to play in international tournaments at senior level.

The Granata star is a versatile wingback who excels in both the attacking and defensive phases.

Center Back: Omar Colley (Gambia/Sampdoria)

Despite being overlooked for the most part, the Sampdoria man is a solid defender, and will be hoping to prove his worth on the big stage.

The Gambia could end up being one of the dark horses in AFCON, and the presence of an experienced Serie A defender could only boost their chances.

Center Back: Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal/Napoli)

For several years now, the Napoli vice-captain has been named amongst the very best center backs in European football.

At the age of 30, Koulibaly is arguably at the peak of his powers and will be the driving force from the back in Senegal’s charge towards African glory.

Left Back: Fodé Ballo-Touré (Senegal/Milan)

When you’re playing second fiddle for the best left-back in the country, regular playing will be hard to come by.

Nevertheless, the Milan summer signing will be eager to prove his worth for his nation and club away from the shadow of Theo Hernandez.

Defensive Midfielder: Ismael Bennacer (Algeria/Milan)

We move on to another Milan player. This season, Ismael Bennacer hasn’t quite reached the level he displayed during the previous campaign, but he remains a major star in the African continent.

Three years ago, the former Empoli man was still a young midfielder trying to make a name for himself in Serie A, but his marvelous displays earned him the best AFCON player award after leading Algeria towards an unforgettable triumph in 2019.

Let’s see if can ha can replicate his heroics in this edition.

Central Midfielder: Franck Kessié (Ivory Coast/Milan)

Yet another Rossoneri midfielder who isn’t enjoying his finest campaign.

Kessié is having an underwhelming season thus far, but the Ivorians will be hoping to witness the best version of “The President” during the coming weeks.

Let’s not forget that we’re talking about the man who was arguably the best midfielder in Italy last term.

Central Midfielder: André-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Cameroon/Napoli)

Since his arrival to Napoli in the summer, the former Fulham man quickly cemented himself as a pillar in Luciano Spalletti’s side.

A modern midfielder blessed with great physical strength as well as impressive skills, the Partenopei star has already played a hand in the hosts’ opening win on Sunday.

Right Winger: Musa Barrow (Gambia/Bologna)

The former Atalanta man can play either on the left flank or as a striker, and he’s often one of the most dangerous players for Bologna. But we’ll fit him in as a right winger.

The young Gambian might be one step away from making a career step-up, and some fine performances in AFCON could remind the big Serie A boys of his prowess, or perhaps open the eyes of some rich Premier League sides.

Jeremie Boga (Ivory Coast/Sassuolo)

This January, Jeremie Boga will complete a switch from Sassuolo to Atalanta.

The talented winger’s status at the Mapei Stadium has regressed recently, but he remains one of the best pure wingers in Italian football.

After all, if Gian Piero Gasperini wants him in Bergamo, then who are we to question such decision?

Center Forward: Keita Baldé (Senegal/Cagliari)

The former Lazio man had his ups and downs throughout his career, which explains why he’s currently playing at Cagliari rather than a bigger side befitting of his undoubted talent.

Nonetheless, the versatile striker has all the tricks and skills to do the damage if given enough space to maneuver.

But first, let’s see if he can earn himself a starting spot in Senegal’s star-studded squad.

Honorable Mentions: Martin Hongla (Cameroon/Verona), Amadou Diawara (Guinea/Roma), Ibrahima Mbayé (Senegal/Bologna), Hamed Junior Traoré (Ivory Coast/Sassuolo), Adam Ounas (Algeria/Napoli), Ebrima Colley (Gambia/Spezia)