Tuesday, May 31, 2011

INFTH Top 100: Numbers 98 and 97

98. Giorgio Chiellini- Lets face it, 2010-11 was another hugely disappointing season for Giorgio Chiellini's Juventus team. From being one of the best in Europe several years ago, Juventus face a season without playing in any European competition, all courtesy of their seventh place finish.

However, Juventus' season did contain its bright spots, including one player who shone out above the rest. Coming into the season as a key member of Italy's squad of World Cup flops, pressure was heavy on Chiellini but the defender managed to play through it, and has been impressive all season long.

Chiellini is an absolute rock at the back for Juve, his bravery and commitment has prevented many a goal from flying into the back of the Old Lady's net. Due to a contract extension signed in late 2010, Chiellini is likely to be playing for Juventus in the Serie A next season, an unfortunate happening, football needs players like the monstrous Chiellini plying their trade at big time Champions League clubs.

Handanovic.JPG97. Samir Handanovich- After an impressive World Cup showing for Slovenia, the world was keen to see Samir Handanovich continue his form for Udinese in Serie A. To be honest, Udinese will not be remembered for their terrific defensive play in 2010/11, their attack won most of the headlines. However, fourteen clean sheets in thirty-five games for Handanovich is nothing to be scoffed at.

While his clean sheet record is a fairly impressive statistic, Handanovich's ability to save penalties is his most noteworthy achievement of 10/11. A late save which denied Mauro Zarate in a crucial win over Lazio equalled a league record of six penalty saves in one season, the Slovenian is now only five saves short of an all time gong. 

One of a fast growing Slovenian contingent in Serie A, Handanovich is quickly becoming one of the Serie A's hottest goalkeepers, keeping company with the likes of Gianluigi Buffon and Christian Abbiati. If Handanovich keeps up his headline making performances, and shines in the Champions League next season, then who knows, maybe he'll make the leap to the top fifty next year.

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