The 2008/09 Serie A season was won by Inter Milan, who finished the season with 84 points, 10 points clear of second-placed Juventus. Inter Milan, managed by Jose Mourinho, dominated the league.
At the other end of the table, Lecce, Reggina, and Torino were relegated to Serie B.
The top scorer of the season was Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored 25 goals for Inter Milan, closely followed by Diego Milito, on 24 goals. Jose Mourinho was named the best coach of the season.
This list was an interesting one to compile. It was a unique one because I see it as the beginning an end of an era for Italian football. Let us get into the top 10!
10 – Diego Milito – #167 – Rookie Sticker from Panini Calciatori 2004/05
Diego Milito was an Argentine striker known for his incredible goal-scoring abilities and clinical finishing. He was a player who excelled in the penalty box, possessing excellent movement off the ball and a great sense of timing to create goal-scoring opportunities for himself. Despite being an underrated player, he was considered one of the best strikers of his generation.
During the 2008/09 season with Genoa, Milito established himself as one of the most lethal strikers in the Serie A, scoring 24 goals in 31 appearances. His performances caught the eye of Inter Milan’s manager, Jose Mourinho, who signed him for the 2009/10 season. It turned out to be a great decision, as Milito became a key player in Mourinho’s side, leading them to an unprecedented treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia, and Champions League.
Milito’s style of play was not just limited to scoring goals, as he was also an intelligent player who was capable of dropping deep to link up with his teammates, providing assists as well. He was a big-game player, who scored crucial goals in important matches, which led to him being nicknamed “Il Principe” by Inter Milan fans.
Overall, Milito was a complete striker who possessed excellent goal-scoring abilities, great movement off the ball, and was an intelligent player who could create chances for his teammates. His performances with Genoa, Zaragoza and Inter Milan showed that he was one of the most underrated strikers of his generation.
9 – Kwadwo Asamoah Rookie Sticker – #A117
Kwadwo Asamoah is a Ghanaian footballer who has primarily played as a central midfielder but also showed versatility in his career by playing as a left-back and wing-back. His play style is characterised by his incredible work rate, tenacity, and stamina, making him a reliable box-to-box midfielder.
In the 2008/09 season with Udinese, Asamoah made a significant impact in the midfield with his energy, ball-winning abilities, and impressive technical skills. He made 35 appearances for the team, scoring two goals and providing four assists.
However, it was at Juventus where Asamoah gained more recognition as a versatile player. He was converted into a wing-back by then-coach Antonio Conte, and his work rate and stamina were critical in implementing Conte’s aggressive pressing style of play. Asamoah played a vital role in Juventus’ success in winning six consecutive Serie A titles from 2012 to 2018.
8 – Alexis Sánchez – #475 – Rookie Sticker from Panini Clausura 2008
Alexis Sanchez is a versatile forward who is known for his incredible work rate, technical ability, and clinical finishing. He started his professional career in Chile and quickly caught the attention of Udinese, who signed him in 2008.
During his time at Udinese, Sanchez quickly became a fan favourite thanks to his tireless work ethic and ability to score spectacular goals. He was deployed primarily as a winger, but was also comfortable playing as a second striker. In the 2008/09 season, he made 32 appearances for Udinese, scoring 3 goals.
Sanchez moved to Arsenal in 2014. He immediately became a key player for the Gunners, using his pace and skill to terrorise e opposition defences. During his three and a half years at Arsenal, Sanchez scored 80 goals. He won two FA Cup trophies with the club and was named the Player of the Season in his first year at the Emirates.
Sanchez’s work rate and technical ability made him one of the most exciting attacking players in the Premier League, and his performances for Arsenal earned him a big-money move to Manchester United in 2018. While he struggled to replicate his Arsenal form at Old Trafford, Sanchez remains one of the most talented and hardworking forwards in world football.
7 – Pavel Nedvěd – #210 – Final Sticker of Career – Rookie Sticker from Panini UEFA Euro England 1996
Pavel Nedved was a legendary Czech football player known for his tenacity, technical ability, and remarkable work ethic. He played as an attacking midfielder and was known for his versatility, having the ability to play on either wing or in a central position.
Nedved’s play style was characterised by his tireless work rate, technical ability, and his eye for goal. He was known for his incredible dribbling skills, quick feet, and his powerful and accurate shooting ability from distance. Nedved was also an excellent passer of the ball and had a superb footballing brain, which enabled him to read the game and dictate the tempo of play.
Nedved had a remarkable career that spanned over two decades. His final season with Juventus, in the 2008/09 campaign, was a fitting end to his illustrious career. He made 32 appearances and scored 7 goals, helping Juventus finish third in the Serie A table.
Nedved was known for his loyalty and passion for Juventus, and he will always be remembered as one of the greatest players to have ever played for the Bianconeri. He won numerous individual awards during his career, including the Ballon d’Or in 2003, and was a key part of the Czech Republic national team that reached the Euro 2004 semi-finals, with Nedved making the team of the tournament.
6 – Simon Kjær Rookie Sticker – #322
Simon Kjær is a Danish football player who is a commanding presence on the pitch with strong leadership skills. He primarily plays as a central defender, but can also operate as a right-back if needed.
Kjær is a physically imposing player who is strong in the air and can handle himself in one-on-one situations. He is also known for his good reading of the game, which enables him to make important interceptions and clearances. Additionally, he is a composed and confident passer of the ball, which allows him to help start attacks from the back.
In the 2008/09 season with Palermo, Kjær established himself as a regular starter in the team’s defence. He played in 27 Serie A matches, helping the team to secure a eighth-place finish. His impressive performances caught the attention of other top clubs in Europe, and he would go on to sign for German side Wolfsburg in the 2010/11 season. Throughout his career, Kjær has played for several top clubs including Roma, Lille, Sevilla, and AC Milan, as well as the Danish national team, where he is currently the captain.
5 – Stevan Jovetić Rookie Sticker – #140
Stevan Jovetić is a Montenegrin forward who is known for his impressive technique and versatility on the field. He is comfortable playing as a center-forward or on either wing, and is adept at creating and finishing scoring chances. Jovetić’s play style is characterized by his close control of the ball, quick turns, and skillful dribbling ability.
During the 2008/09 season with Fiorentina, Jovetić made a name for himself as one of the most exciting young talents in Serie A, helping Fiorentina finish 5th in the league. Jovetić’s performances caught the attention of top European clubs, and he eventually signed for Manchester City in 2013.
He later moved on to play for Inter Milan, Sevilla, and Monaco, where he continued to demonstrate his technical abilities and eye for goal. Despite his talents, Jovetić has often been underrated and under appreciated throughout his career.
4 – Radja Nainggolan Rookie Sticker – #576 (Top Right)
Radja Nainggolan is known for his dynamic and versatile playing style. He is primarily a central midfielder, but can also play as a defensive midfielder or as a box-to-box midfielder.
Nainggolan is known for his powerful shooting ability from distance, as well as his tireless work rate and tenacity on the pitch. He is often described as a box-to-box midfielder who is equally capable of breaking up play in defense as he is creating opportunities in the attack.
In the 2008/09 season, Nainggolan was playing for Piacenza in the Italian Serie B. He played in 38 matches and scored 3 goals, demonstrating his all-round abilities in midfield.
Throughout his career, Nainggolan has played for several top European clubs, including Roma and Inter Milan, where he continued to impress with his energetic and commanding performances. He is also known for his leadership qualities, having captained both Roma and Cagliari during his career.
Despite his impressive performances, Nainggolan has been somewhat overlooked in terms of individual awards and recognition, but his impact on the pitch and his ability to score crucial goals from distance make him an important asset to any team he plays for.
3 – Stephan El Shaarawy Rookie Sticker – #A40
Stephan El Shaarawy plays as a forward. His play style is characterized by his dribbling skills, speed, and flair on the pitch. El Shaarawy is known for his ability to create chances and score goals in both domestic and international competitions.
During his 2008/09 season with Genoa, El Shaarawy was just 16 years old and was a highly promising young talent. He made a handful of appearances for the senior team, impressing fans and scouts alike with his performances. His skill on the ball and ability to take on defenders caught the eye of many, leading to him being signed by AC Milan in 2011.
Throughout his career, El Shaarawy has continued to showcase his skill and creativity on the pitch, making him a fan favourite at the clubs he has played for. He has also earned over 20 caps for the Italian national team, cementing his status as one of the country’s top talents.
2 – Luís Figo – #187 – Final Sticker of Career – Rookie Sticker from Panini Futebol 1992-1993
Luis Figo was known for his technical ability, dribbling skills, and creativity on the pitch. Figo was considered one of the best players in the world during his prime and is widely regarded as one of the greatest Portuguese footballers of all time.
Figo’s career spanned over two decades, during which he played for several top clubs including Sporting CP, Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan. In his final season with Inter Milan in 2008/09, Figo played a key role in the team’s success, helping them win the Serie A title.
Figo’s play style was marked by his incredible ball control and passing ability, which allowed him to create numerous chances for his teammates. He was also known for his ability to score important goals in high-pressure situations.
Throughout his career, Figo won numerous individual awards, including the Ballon d’Or in 2000. Additionally, his transfer from Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2000 was a hugely controversial and dramatic event, which made him a polarizing figure among fans of both clubs. Despite this, Figo remained beloved by many for his incredible talent and competitive spirit.
1 – Paolo Maldini – #267 – Final Sticker of Career – Rookie Sticker from Panini Calciatori 1985/86
Paolo Maldini was a legendary Italian defender who is widely considered to be one of the greatest to ever play the game. He was a natural leader on the pitch and his play style was defined by his exceptional defending skills, his excellent positioning, and his intelligent reading of the game. Maldini was also known for his ability to win aerial duels and his incredible stamina and endurance.
Maldini had an incredible career that spanned over 25 years, during which he won numerous titles including seven Serie A titles and five Champions League titles with AC Milan!
Maldini’s final season with AC Milan was in 2008/09, during which he was 41 years old but still played an important role in the team. Despite his age, he continued to display his trademark leadership and defensive skills, helping the team finish second in the Serie A, featuring 30 times; incredible for a player 41 years old!
Maldini’s legacy as a one club player is also remarkable, having spent his entire career with AC Milan. He was a true embodiment of loyalty, passion and dedication to his club, and remains a beloved figure among AC Milan fans to this day. His incredible career and unmatched defending skills have cemented his place as one of the greatest footballers of all time.
I felt it was very harsh to leave out Zlatan from the list, considering he scored 25 goals and got the golden boot. I thought I would leave him out to keep things a bit more interesting. In reality, he makes nearly every top 10 list for each set he is in.
Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think in the comments below.