Our look at the top ten talismen for each of Europe’s main five leagues turns to Italy, with Serie A next under the microscope. While La Liga and the Premier League had five players contributing to 50% or more of their team’s goals when on the pitch, Serie A has as many as seven, suggesting that, overall, teams there are more reliant on the performances of certain individuals than the top leagues in England and Spain.


Serie A Top 10 Talismen


Marco Di Vaio missed just 5 minutes of the season on his way to helping Bologna beat the drop by 6 points. Unsurprisingly, then, Di Vaio was on the field for all his side’s 35 goals, as he bagged 19, along with 2 assists, playing a part in 60% of all Bologna’s goals, and making him out top talisman for Serie A.

Top scorer in Serie A with 28 goals, Antonio Di Natale also grabbed 7 assists over his 36 appearances, meaning his goal contribution (35) was superior to any player in Serie A. Udinese scored 59 goals with Di Natale on the pitch- he therefore played a part in 59% of them. Without him on the pitch, Udinese scored less often- their season average was 1 every 52 but with Di Natale on the pitch, it dropped to 1 goal every 49 minutes.

Edinson Cavani helped fire Napoli to third in Serie A with 26 goals, the second-highest scorer in Italy’s top-flight. Cavani also made 6 assists, meaning he contributed to 32 of the 56 goals his side scored with him on the pitch, which works out at 57%. Cavani’s presence was vital to Napoli; they failed to win the three games he missed and averaged 1 goal every 50 minutes when he was on the field, compared to 1 goal every 57 minutes over the course of the season.

Samuel Eto’o found the net 21 times for deposed champions Inter and with 9 assists, contributed to 30 of the 53 goals his side scored with him on the pitch- a ratio of 56%. Inter performed well in his absence, though, winning two of the 3 games Eto’o missed, scoring 9 goals. This shows in the fact that they scored 1 goal per 49 minutes over the season, but a slight drop to 1 every 55 during the time Eto’o was on the pitch.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic contributed to 25 goals (14 goals and 11 assists) in just 29 appearances for champions Milan, an impressive 52% of the 48 goals his team scored with the Swede on the pitch. Ibrahimovic missed 9 games, mostly through suspension, and in his absence Milan showed he is by no means essential to them winning games, picking up 7 victories in those 9 without him

Francesco Totti was top for both goals and assists for Roma, with 15 and 8 respectively. Totti’s contribution to 23 of his side’s 45 goals when he was on the pitch equates to 51%. His presence didn’t boost their chances of a win, though; Roma won 3 of the 6 he didn’t feature in, scoring 11 goals. They did find the net more often with him on the side, however, with 1 goal per 54 minutes compared to a season average of 1 every 57 minutes.

Despite his valiant attempts to save Brescia from relegation, the goals and assists of Andrea Caracciolo were not quite enough to save his side from the drop to Serie B.  Brescia scored 34 goals for the entire season, finding the net 27 times with Caracciolo on the pitch. With 12 goals and 2 assists, he contributed to 14 of those 27, or 51%, making him as important to his team as the likes of Totti at Roma.

Cagliari playmaker Andrea Cossu picked up more assists than any other player in Serie A last season, supplying the pass for a finish on 13 occasions. Over his 35 appearances, Cossu also scored 4 goals, meaning he played a part in 17 of the 37 goals his side scored with him on the pitch, which works out at 45%.

Sergio Pellissier missed only 3 games for Chievo last season and his value to the team is summed up in the fact that they failed to find the net once in his absence. Chievo scored 36 goals with Pellissier on the pitch and, with 11 goals and 5 assists, Pellissier played a part in 16, or 44% of those goals. No surprise, then, that Chievo scored more often with him in the side and won more games with Pellissier on board.

Lecce won just 3 of the 15 games David Di Michele missed last season, but won 8 of the 23 he took part in. Their win ratio for the games with him in the side was 34% but just 28 for the season, as they finished fourth-bottom of Serie A. Lecce scored 32 goals with Di Michele on the pitch and the forward played a part in 40% of them, with 8 goals and 5 assists seeing him contribute to 13. The team’s goals per minute also increased substantially in his presence- with Di Michele in the side they scored 1 goal every 58 minutes but for the season, their average was 1 every 74 minutes.