The 2019-20 season was one of transition for Roma, as they experienced highs and lows under new coach Paulo Fonseca.
In the end, they finished fifth in Serie A, a decent achievement even if it wasn’t the original target. While the results as a collective were mixed, several players showed high standards on an individual basis.
Meanwhile, Roma Women were on course to beat their points tally from their first season when the Serie A Femminile campaign was cancelled. Likewise, they also had several players stepping up to inspire them to better things.
With both teams showing signs of progress, which players deserve special praise? Here are the winners of the Giallorossi Yorkshire end-of-season awards.
Roma Women Awards
Roma’s second season in women’s football was unfortunately cut short, but not before they had been able to demonstrate how much they were progressing. Who stood out in particular?
Women’s Player of the Season – Lindsey ThomasEmbed from Getty Images
One of the key areas in which Roma improved in 2019-20 was how they had a better connection with their attack. Lindsey Thomas was essential to that.
The French forward impressed with her dynamic movement and keen eye for goal, becoming the leading foreign scorer in Serie A in the process with nine goals. She would surely have reached double figures if the season had been able to finish.
Whether playing as a centre-forward or a winger, Thomas gave Roma a dimension they didn’t have before. She proved to be instrumental.
Women’s Young Player of the Season (Under 21) – Tecla PettenuzzoEmbed from Getty Images
After the departure of Emma Lipman in 2019, Roma Women needed to find a suitable replacement. But while Lipman had been one of the senior members in the squad, the player who filled her boots was someone at the opposite end of the age spectrum.
After joining from Sassuolo, Tecla Pettenuzzo soon showed maturity beyond her years. The 20-year-old was strong at centre-back and read the play well.
Pettenuzzo always seemed comfortable in a key position, showing the potential to become a high level defender in years to come.
Women’s Goal of the Season – Lindsey Thomas v Orobica
There were several long-range strikes from Roma Women in their second season, but the goal that showed the best technique was Thomas’ chip against Orobica.
Latching onto a through ball from Manuela Coluccini, Thomas raced in behind the defence, before lifting the ball over the onrushing keeper with her first touch.
It was a fine example of her composure in front of goal.
First Team Awards
Moving on to the men’s team, who did get to complete their season, it was a mixed year, but several players stood out.
Young Player of the Season (Under 21) – Nicolo ZanioloEmbed from Getty Images
If 2018-19 was the season in which Nicolo Zaniolo announced himself to the world, then 2019-20 was the one which proved the hype was justified.
Zaniolo matured vastly in his second season in Rome. Becoming more and more comfortable on the right wing, the Italian starlet was a regular source of goals for his side.
Roma suffered when Zaniolo wasn’t there, but when he returned from injury in July, he was soon back to his best. He really consolidated his reputation in 2019-20.
Older Player of the Season (Over 30) – Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Every young squad needs some points of reference to help them, and Roma were lucky that they had the right balance of prospects for the future and several seasoned professionals.
Few showed their experience as much as Henrikh Mkhitaryan. After joining on loan from Arsenal, the attacking midfielder rediscovered his best form.
Especially towards the end of the season, Mkhitaryan was crucial to Roma in attack. He demonstrated his class time and time again with his numerous goals and assists, always showing his intelligence.
Mkhitaryan oozed quality throughout the season, establishing himself as one of Roma’s best players.
Most Improved Player – Leonardo SpinazzolaEmbed from Getty Images
There were a few contenders for Roma’s most improved player – Bruno Peres and Nikola Kalinic, for example – but the one whose season was most clearly divided into a better second half was Leonardo Spinazzola.
The full-back had joined for big money from Juventus in the summer, but looked uncomfortable at right-back. In fact, Roma were close to selling him in January.
After that move fell through and he shifted over to his preferred position of left-back, Spinazzola showed his true value. He was positive going forward and seemed to have found the joy in his play again.
It speaks volumes of his improvement that he has not even been linked with an exit again this summer; he has become a key player for Roma.
Signing of the Season – Jordan VeretoutEmbed from Getty Images
Roma made several astute moves in the summer transfer window last year after Gianluca Petrachi took on the role of sporting director. The additions of Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan on loan, for example, were wise moves.
But the Signing of the Season award should go to someone who joined on a permanent basis. And Jordan Veretout was an excellent pick for Roma’s midfield.
Beating competition from Napoli and Milan for his signature, Roma quickly realised they had a great player on their hands. Veretout was among the most consistent players in the squad with his energetic displays in the middle.
One of Fonseca’s most trusted men, Veretout binded Roma together with his work rate and quality.
Goal of the Season – Nicolo Zaniolo v SPAL
The flowing move that Justin Kluivert finished off against Udinese in October was Roma’s best team goal of the season, but the best strike of individual brilliance was Nicolo Zaniolo’s against SPAL.
Receiving the ball in his own half, he ran at the opposition at pace, beating defender after defender. And as he got to the edge of the box, he calmly cut the ball onto his stronger side, setting himself up for the finish.
Zaniolo made no mistake with his effort, as he sent the ball soaring into the top corner. It was his 10th goal ever in Serie A, and it instantly became one of the best in his collection.
Player of the Season – Chris SmallingEmbed from Getty Images
Several players reached high standards for Roma in 2019-20, but no-one did it as consistently as Chris Smalling.
Something of a surprise signing when he joined on loan from Manchester United, Smalling made an instant impression with a positive debut against Atalanta, and never let those standards slip.
Becoming the first English player to score for Roma when he netted against Udinese in October, Smalling had an impact at both ends. He brought the best out in those around him, forming a solid centre-back partnership with Gianluca Mancini.
Although he only wore the captain’s armband once, Smalling was a real leader for Roma. In most games, he was inspirational.
Always reliable and exactly what was needed at the back, Smalling made Rome his home. Looking at the season as a whole, he was definitely Roma’s best player.