Serie A Star Power Index: Ante Rebic returns for AC Milan; 39-year-old helping Sampdoria in relegation fight


Welcome to the Serie A Star Power Index: A weekly gauge of the players who are most controlling the buzz around Italy. Inclusion on this list isn’t necessarily a good thing. It simply means you’re capturing the Serie A world’s attention. This is also not a ranking. The players listed are in no particular order as it pertains to the buzz they’re generating. You can watch Serie A’s top players all season long on Paramount+.  

Ante Rebic, AC Milan 

Croatian striker Ante Rebic finally got back on the scoresheet during a Serie A match for the first time in more than five months. He only scored two goals this season so far and the only one he scored before last Saturday’s match against Salernitana was on Sept. 19 against Juventus. Until now his season was much affected by injuries, and as a consequence he only played 610 minutes. His comeback is crucial, not only because AC Milan only lost once with him on the pitch this season (vs. Spezia on Jan. 17) but also because he’s a kind of striker that can play in multiple roles in the attack. He can be a No. 9, a winger and also playing a little behind the striker. 

He can adapt to multiple tactical systems and can be very useful to coach Stefano Pioli, who is still waiting to see Zlatan Ibrahimovic back on the pitch due to his injury. During the pre-match conference ahead of Friday’s clash against Udinese, Pioli spoke about Ante Rebic: “I expect a lot from him, because it is right to expect it from a player with these qualities”. 

Giacomo Raspadori, Sassuolo 

After an incredible game with an unexpected result, Sassuolo won at the San Siro last Sunday against Inter Milan. The two main heroes of the day were the strikers of the Neroverdi side: Gianluca Scamacca and Giacomo Raspadori, who by the way are both linked with Inter Milan for the summer. Raspadori’s season has been outstanding this year in Serie A. After winning the Euros last summer with the Italian national team, the 22-year-old started the current season quietly but until now has already scored eight goals and provided four assists. Raspadori has 5.39 xG and 22 shots on target overall. Raspadori is not a physical striker, and he prefers to work in the short distance and with his pace. He’s improving match after match and can play in different positions of the attacking line. 

Sassuolo were particularly good this season against the big teams and have won against AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan recently and Raspadori played in all three matches as a starter. His development started last season under Roberto De Zerbi, but this season with Dionisi as a coach he improved exponentially and it’s very likely that next summer several clubs will knock on Sassuolo’s door. However, the club is known to be a difficult one for negotiations and the asking price for Raspadori won’t be less than € 30-35 million. 

Fabio Quagliarella, Sampdoria 

Sampdoria legend Fabio Quagliarella is back. The 39-year-old scored two goals last weekend against Empoli and showed again that he might be useful to coach Marco Giampaolo in these last months of the season. Quagliarella scored only three goals during the current Serie A season and provided three assists. His support is needed for a club that is currently fighting to avoid relegation. His numbers this year don’t stand out (he only had eight shots on target, with an overall xG 2.64), but he could help keep the club in the top flight.

Giampaolo had nice words about his captain and striker after Saturday’s clash against Empoli: “He is 39 years old. His mentality makes the difference, I’ve never had any doubts about Quagliarella”. 

Victor Osimhen, Napoli 

With two goals scored in the last three matches in Serie A, Victor Osimhen is now fully back in action helping Napoli to fight for the title race of this season. The Nigerian striker scored again last Monday against Cagliari, with a crucial goal that prevented a loss. Osimhen also scored against Venezia two weeks ago and has now reached seven goals in the domestic league. With 49 shots overall (28.6% on target), he has a xG 7.89 and a 48.1% of duel success percentage. 

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti spoke about him after the Cagliari match. “He has a ferocity when it comes at you, he goes to attack opponents very strongly,” Spalletti said. “He has amazing qualities, which are not easy to find in every player.” 

His role in the team is crucial especially this season and it was clear especially when he was not available due to his injury. He can play as a No. 9, but also he can play with another striker such as Dries Mertens or Andrea Petagna. Spalletti considers him the perfect solution for his 4-2-3-1 and he’s proving on the pitch to be the real star of the roster. 





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