Roma may have struggled on the whole in 2020-21, but some players still deserve recognition for their individual achievements.
As is customary at this time of year, it is the moment for Giallorossi Yorkshire to reflect on the season and hand out some very prestigious awards.
So, here are the winners in full, not that they are likely to see…
Signing of the Season – Borja MayoralEmbed from Getty Images
There wasn’t a lot of competition for this award, but even if there had been, Borja Mayoral would have been a standout.
Expectations around the Spanish striker were limited when he joined on loan from Real Madrid in October. He took his time to impress, but eventually began to find his stride.
Mayoral proved himself as an efficient player, whose new club finally addressed a long-term need of finding a suitable backup striker. Due to a variety of circumstances, he ended up starting as many games as the man ahead of him in the pecking order, Edin Dzeko.
Mayoral isn’t a full Roma player just yet and will remain on loan for another season, but in terms of the impact provided from a new arrival, he was the clear choice for Signing of the Season.
Most Improved Player – Rick KarsdorpEmbed from Getty Images
When Rick Karsdorp returned from a loan spell at Feyenoord last summer, it wasn’t even clear if he would stay at the club. There were rumours of him being sold elsewhere in Serie A, but Roma eventually kept him around.
They will be glad they did, as Karsdorp became a much better player compared to the one who had struggled in a previous two-year spell.
He didn’t start the season as first-choice at right-back, initially rotating with Davide Santon and Bruno Peres, but he eventually grasped that role for himself from around late November and refused to let it go. Showing improvements in both his attacking output and defensive awareness, he provided balance to the team.
Most importantly of all, he avoided the injury issues that had prevented him making progress before. He made more appearances across all competitions in 2020-21 than in the previous three seasons put together.
Most Consistent Player – Jordan VeretoutEmbed from Getty Images
There is a Roma with Jordan Veretout, and a Roma without Jordan Veretout. The one with him is a much, much better team.
After proving his reliability in his first season, Veretout followed it up with an even better second campaign in the capital. He became more of a goal threat, both from the penalty spot and open play, and brought balance and determination to the midfield.
His standards were generally high, with the only downside being his losing of possession on occasion. But in a season in which most players struggled for consistency, he was among the most dependable every time he was available.
Young Player of the Season – Ebrima DarboeEmbed from Getty Images
It is perhaps a little unfair to give an award to a player who only featured in one month of the campaign, but with little other choice, the Young Player of the Season simply has to be Ebrima Darboe.
A modest presence when he stepped into the team in May, he soon asserted himself and let his football do the talking. Calm and confident, he displayed qualities that many of his more senior teammates had been lacking.
In the space of a month, he went from a young prospect with a touching story, to someone who can be valued intrinsically for his technical potential. Now he is eyeing a 2021-22 season where he can play for a full year in senior football, and Roma will hope that is with them.
After a year of few bright hopes, it was a welcome relief for one to emerge as the campaign came to a close.
Goal of the Season – Henrikh Mkhitaryan v Parma
There were a few contenders for the Goal of the Season, but one that instantly sprung to mind was Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s thunderbolt against Parma in November.
Enjoying a rich vein of form towards the start of the season, Mkhitaryan showed his power and precision with a brilliant half-volley that caught opponents and teammates alike off-guard.
There were some Roma appeals for a foul before Mkhitaryan spotted that play was still alive. Latching on to a dropping ball, he timed his run perfectly and found the sweet spot.
Lacing through the ball, he arrowed it into the top corner with venom and accuracy, adding to his ever extending Roma highlight reel.
Player of the Season – Henrikh MkhitaryanEmbed from Getty Images
Indeed, that goal was just one of many bright moments for Mkhitaryan in 2020-21. The previous season – his first in Serie A – helped him revive his career, and he went on to exceed even those levels.
Particularly in the last few months of 2020, Mkhitaryan was on fire. The goals kept coming on a regular basis and he was creating others for his teammates as well.
Things took a bit of a dip after the turn of the year and he took some time on the sidelines due to injury, but once he regained his form in the final few weeks, Roma looked like a stronger force again.
It was no coincidence. The levels Mkhitaryan reached in 2020-21, with double figures for both goals and assists, were such that he had a major influence on the team as a whole.
Renewing his contract for another year was an easy decision for Roma – if seemingly not for Mino Raiola – so there will be more to look forward to in 2021-22.
Mkhitaryan will likely pass a century of Roma appearances and can continue to cement his reputation in the capital if he continues to perform at these heights.
Congratulations to all the winners and thanks for following the 2020-21 season together with Giallorossi Yorkshire.