Who Is The Best Serie A Forward?

Back in the 1990s and the early 2000s, Serie A earned a reputation as a proverbial promised land for the world’s most recognized football stars. However, the landscape has changed over the past two decades. 

Since the infamous Calciopoli scandal, Italian football has entered a period of decadency. Or at least, that’s what pundits and so-called ‘experts’ have tried to convince the public. 

There’s no denying that Serie A can no longer attract top players due to a lack of funds. Competing with wealthy Premier League clubs and Saudi Arabia’s petrodollars is impossible. Yet not everything is lost.

Financial setbacks have forced Italian clubs to be more dependent on their scouting networks, while others, like Atalanta, heavily rely on their youth academies. 

In truth, Serie A still boasts some of the world’s finest talents. Many of them have developed into the most highly-rated prospects in the market. So, who is the best player in Calcio? Like in any other league, that’s a never-ending debate. 

Depending on which side of the spectrum of liking one side you stand, you form your opinion about a given player. At the end of the day, it’s a subjective matter. But the three following players have set the benchmark high for their peers.

Rafael Leao

When Milan snapped a decade-long Scudetto wait in 2021/22, Rafael Leao wrote his name down in San Siro folklore as the team’s on-field leader. The quicksilver forward was named the division’s MVP after mustering 11 goals and ten assists from 34 Serie A appearances. 

Leao increased his offensive output last term, netting 15 times and adding 10 assists across 35 league outings. Yet, Milan failed to defend the crown as Napoli steamrolled to the title in one of the most dominant campaigns in recent Serie A history. 

But with Leao, it’s not all about the numbers. His outrageous pace and fancy footwork make him one of the most enjoyable players to watch in Europe, let alone Serie A. When it comes to the 24-year-old, it’s more about throwing a spectacle than piling numbers.

More often than not, Leao gets so carried away by his constant desire to humiliate his markers that he takes his eyes off the game’s purpose, which is to score goals. Despite his occasional switch-offs, there’s no doubt he’s one of the best wingers in the world. 

Lautaro Martinez

Lautaro Martinez’s consistency since swapping Racing Club for Inter in 2018 has been off the charts. The 26-year-old has come a long way from a raw talent to the Nerazzurri captain in five years, building a stellar reputation in European football in the process. 

Since a relatively rough adaptation period in his first season in Serie A, the Argentine has become a synonym for consistency. Martinez has hit double digits in his last four league campaigns and is on course to replicate that feat this season after bagging 12 goals in as many appearances. 

Unlike Leao, Martinez isn’t a showman. However, he is the type of player any manager would ‘kill’ to have. Regardless of his exceptional talent, the leading Serie A goalscorer is a hardworking individual whose commitment on and off the field inspires his teammates.

Victor Osimhen

Victor Osimhen’s future in Serie A hangs by a thread in light of recent events. The Nigerian has had a fallout with Napoli following a controversial video on social media, while the club’s disastrous start to their title defense added insult to injury. But wherever he ends up next season is irrelevant to this conversation. 

In modern-day football, where out-and-out strikers are endangered species, Osimhen has emerged as a nostalgic reminder of the old ‘No 9s.’ In addition to his sophisticated sense of space and lethal scoring instincts, the ex-Lille frontman boasts impressive physical attributes, including insane speed and aerial prowess. 

He put all those attributes to good use last term to arrest Napoli’s 33-year Serie A title drought. With 26 goals, Osimhen won the Capocannoniere award. At top gear, he was unstoppable, and it’s no wonder numerous top European clubs were keen to lure him away from Serie A in the summer.

Who do you think is the best?

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