The 2020-21 Serie A season saw Juventus fall way short of expectations as their nine-year Scudetto winning streak finally came to an end. Without a doubt, many Juve players underperformed, which led to their sudden decline.
However, they were hardly the only high-profile Serie A stars who fell way short of people’s expectations this season.
SBOTOP takes a look at a handful of these Serie A disappointments and see just what went wrong for them this season.
Arthur/Adrien Rabiot/Aaron Ramsey, Juventus
Juventus’ midfield has been a major reason for their struggles this season, so it’s only fitting that not one, not two, but three Juve midfielders are included on this list of Serie A’s biggest disappointments.
Arthur came aboard from Barcelona this summer in a controversial swap deal with Miralem Pjanic, but the Brazilian midfielder has failed to make his mark in Turin. Injuries have been partly to blame, but even when he has been on the pitch, he has not shown the passing ability that drew lofty comparisons with the great Xavi.
However, Rabiot has been mostly healthy and has been given plenty of chances to play by Andrea Pirlo, but he has looked decidedly average and unspectacular for Juve.
Meanwhile, Ramsey has been incorrectly utilised and has not had too many chances to play, which just so happen to be the recurring issues during his mostly unsuccessful time in Turin.
Juventus will need to replenish their midfield in order to be top contenders once again, but it remains to be seen whether any of these three will be part of the Old Lady’s return to greatness.
Christian Eriksen, Inter Milan
Much was expected of Eriksen following his arrival at Inter in January 2020, but the move has not panned out quite as well as expected.
Antonio Conte gave Eriksen the chance to play in his preferred No. 10 role early in the season in hopes of boosting their Serie A 2021 odds of winning the title. But Inter were just too porous defensively whenever Eriksen was in the side and was quickly shunted to the bench. It went sour so quickly that Inter made it clear Eriksen was available for a transfer this past winter.
Eriksen eventually worked his way back into the side later in the season. He scored a memorable free-kick winner against rivals Milan in the Coppa Italia and made contributions to their Scudetto-winning campaign.
But still, with just two league goals and no assists in 25 appearances (17 starts) this season, he has been far from the star playmaker he was billed to be upon arriving from Tottenham.
Sandro Tonali, AC Milan
Tonali arrived at Milan in the summer with a ton of hype. He was considered one of the most promising Italian prospects in a while and was even billed as the new Pirlo, which was always going to be a difficult comparison to live up to.
And unfortunately for the youngster, he has been far from Pirlo-esque in what has been quite a tough first season in Milan. He has no goals or assists in 25 appearances (17 starts) and has looked overwhelmed at times.
Granted, Tonali is only 20 years old and made a huge step up from relegation-threatened Brescia to Milan, who were top of the table early in the season.
Tonali still has time on his side, but there is clearly much room for improvement after a less-than-stellar debut season at San Siro.
Jose Callejon, Fiorentina
Fiorentina made a big gamble when they signed ageing winger Franck Ribery, and it went much better than what many had anticipated. So after Federico Chiesa’s move to Juventus, they decided to do it again this past summer with Jose Callejon.
Callejon, 34, was one of the top wingers in Italy during his heyday at Napoli and was a free agent after ending his seven-year spell with the club.
However, the Viola were not quite so lucky this time around as Callejon turned into a colossal bust. The Spaniard has been a shadow of the player who starred at Napoli, making just six starts for Fiorentina (19 appearances overall) with no goals and just one assist.
May the Callejon disaster serve as a reminder to Fiorentina that signing wingers in their mid-30s is not a good idea.
Paulo Dybala, Juventus
In case you may have forgotten, it was less than a year ago that Paulo Dybala was named Serie A MVP for the 2019/20 season over teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. But after receiving that amazing accolade, the Argentine proceeded to have by far his worst season during his time in Turin.
Dybala has been hampered by injury problems this season, but he also not delivered many Serie A 2021 highlights when he has been fit enough to play. He has made just 19 appearances (13 starts) in Serie A, scoring a meagre four goals with two assists.
Dybala is in the midst of a contract dispute with Juve but is reportedly keen to stay in Turin. But while he has already proven what a special talent he is, this disappointing season may just put some doubts into Juventus’ minds as they decide whether to give “La Joya” a massive deal.