Roma Women 2023-24 review: The Giallorossi Yorkshire awards

After becoming back-to-back Serie A Femminile champions, more and more plaudits have been heading the way of the Roma Women squad.

Building on from the last season’s success, Roma claimed a second consecutive Scudetto in the 2023-24 season, with a blend of players who had been involved in 2022-23 as well and some new recruits.

A total of 30 different players made appearances for Roma in any competition throughout the season, the entirety of which they spent sat at the top of the table.

As Roma’s success increases, it’s getting harder and harder to narrow down these awards, but here are Giallorossi Yorkshire‘s picks of the standout players in several categories from the 2023-24 season.

Signing of the season – Evelyne Viens

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For the first time ever, the 2023-24 season ended with Roma having the top scorer in Serie A Femminile – and it was someone who was a complete newcomer to Italian football.

Roma beat competition from WSL giants Chelsea to sign Evelyne Viens in the summer of 2023, which should have been enough evidence even before she had kicked a ball for the club that she would be a high-pedigree acquisition.

Inheriting the number seven shirt vacated by departing club icon Andressa Alves, Viens adapted seamlessly. She scored on her second, third and fourth appearances for Roma, representing the first of three different three-game scoring streaks throughout the season (her last, in fact, would extend to five games, making her the only player other than Andressa to achieve that feat for the club).

Capable of performing anywhere across the attack, Viens usually forced her way into the lineup as a winger, but also proved to be a capable deputy to Valentina Giacinti as a centre-forward when required, which was an important task to address after the club-record summer sale of Sophie Roman Haug.

By the end of the season, Viens had 18 goals to her name, making her Roma’s joint-leading scorer for the season along with Giacinti. Viens was also responsible for seven assists, giving her 25 goal contributions in 37 games.

And it was her dramatic late equaliser in the Coppa Italia final that sent the tie to extra time and afforded Roma the chance to go on and complete the domestic double.

Most improved player – Lucia Di Guglielmo

Someone who has always retained the trust of head coach Alessandro Spugna, who brought her with him to Roma from Empoli in 2021, Lucia Di Guglielmo has just enjoyed the best season of her career.

Injured for the middle section of Roma’s first Scudetto season, Di Guglielmo almost doubled her appearance tally this time around, playing in 31 games.

Often operating on the left-hand side of defence, despite being right-footed – effectively swapping roles with Elisa Bartoli compared to when she joined – Di Guglielmo usually looked comfortable.

She also became an unlikely goal threat, registering seven goals – and two assists – across the season.

Since the club season started in September, she earned 10 Italy caps, around 38% of her career tally.

Di Guglielmo also earned a place in the FIGC’s Opta-inspired Team of the Season for Serie A Femminile, alongside fellow Roma defenders Elena Linari and Moeka Minami.

Most consistent player – Emilie Haavi

Elected the best player in Serie A Femminile in 2022-23, Emilie Haavi didn’t even make it into the FIGC’s Team of the Season this time around, but that didn’t mean she’d dropped her levels.

Indeed, the Norwegian winger remained an irrepressible force on the flank. Her pairing of confident dribbling and spatial awareness – with an added measure of technical control – made her a frequent danger to opponents.

Many of Haavi’s nine assists across the season followed a similar theme. Whether stationed on the right or left wing, she could take on opponents in a direct fashion before calmly teeing up someone in a more central position, often with a perfect weight of pass that would lead to a comfortable finish.

No player started more league games for Roma than Haavi all season (she was tied with Giugliano on 24). She was present in important moments, scoring in the first of the three wins against Juventus and also netting in both legs of the Coppa Italia semi-final win over Milan, for example.

Haavi hit the ground running as soon as she joined Roma two-and-a-half years ago and it feels like she’s maintained the same magnitude of impact ever since.

Assist of the season – Elisa Bartoli to Manuela Giugliano v Sassuolo

Earlier in her Roma career, a hallmark of Elisa Bartoli’s game would be to maraud forward, cut inside onto her stronger right foot, and influence a goal. As a full-back, she was a major threat.

These days, Bartoli plays on the right-hand side of defence more often, which has adjusted the way she influences play. But when Roma first faced off with Sassuolo this season back in November, the captain helped her side break the deadlock with some echoes of the past.

After outmanoeuvring an opponent, Bartoli dribbled inwards, before using the outside of her right boot to skim the ball into the box where Manuela Giugliano was waiting.

While the number 10 still had work to do to provide the finish, the way Bartoli sliced open the Sassuolo defence was inspirational.

Goal of the season – Elena Linari v Juventus

A defender by trade, Linari scored more goals in the 2023-24 season than she had in her previous two-and-a-half with Roma, scoring seven in the league and one in the cup.

One of the standout moments of her season was in the second game against Juventus, which – like the return fixture – saw Roma go 3-0 up and eventually win 3-1.

Linari’s goal was the third of the game, so any manner of scoring would have emphasised how far Roma were taking it away from their title rivals, but she made that message even clearer with a thunderbolt from outside the box.

After developments from a corner, Linari was in the right place at the right time and sent the ball goalward like an arrow. It was unstoppable and, although there was still plenty of the season to go at that point, created a sense of euphoria about Roma’s route to a second Scudetto.

Just listen to the commentary!

It wasn’t even her only outside-of-the-box goal in the season, since she had earlier stunned Sampdoria with something similar – provoking another ‘Mamma mia’ from the commentator – but the magnitude of the Juventus match meant that strike was even sweeter.

Player of the season – Manuela Giugliano

When Roma signed Giugliano five years ago, it was a monumental acquisition for the club ahead of their second season in women’s football, and a clear statement of their intentions to raise their level.

Giugliano has had a positive impact throughout her subsequent Roma career, but it really feels like it has all been building towards this. She has enjoyed a sensational 2023-24 season.

The addition of former World Cup winner and multiple-time Champions League medallist Saki Kumagai in a holding-midfield role unlocked Giugliano to become a bigger goal threat in a box-to-box role.

Giugliano was now able to influence play higher up the pitch, while still being able to spread useful passes around.

Not only has she remained a playmaker, but she has also become a major goal threat in her own right. It was always within her potential, since she enjoyed a 17-goal season for AGSM Verona earlier in her career, but that was long before women’s football in Italy was a professional endeavour. Now, Giugliano has been a major part of the dominant side in relatively more competitive surroundings.

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The Italy international has scored as many goals in 2023-24 as she did in the two previous seasons for Roma put together.

In fact, her record of 16 goals and 15 assists meant she finished the season with the most goal contributions of any of her teammates – 31 from 39 appearances.

And Giugliano has received the appropriate recognition, claiming the award for the best player in the league. She’s an obvious choice for Roma’s player of the season.

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