Tuesday Oct 24, 2017  
     
 
  01/07/2015: LazioLand Player of the Season - 1st: Marco Parolo
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Stefano Pioli's 2014-15 side were very much the darlings of Serie A as they surpassed pre-season expectations by finishing 3rd in Serie A, achieving that objective with an attractive aggressive style which would surely impress cynics of Serie A and Italian football in general.

The media have latched onto the fact that Antonio Candreva and Felipe Anderson's exciting wing-play is a key component in our success and that there's an important spine to the team, beginning with Stefan de Vrij's wonderful defensive abilities, Lucas Biglia's excellent distribution of the ball and Miroslav Klose's expert finishing up top. These players all received votes in the LazioLand poll and that was to be expected.

What may surprise the neutrals is the view among Lazio fans that Marco Parolo stands out as the protagonist of this Lazio, but it should come as a surprise to no one as his contribution is clear with a quick glance at the numbers. Parolo amassed 10 goals this season despite being, predominantly, a defensive-minded player tasked with pressing the opposition, breaking down plays and carrying the ball out from midfield into attack. A player needs real class to carry out those defensive duties at this level while finding the net as often as Lazio's attacking players who were inserted into various teams of the year without any real resistance. Parolo has been criminally overlooked and it would be quite easy to make a case for him as Serie A's most undervalued player. In fact, you could argue that has been the case for Parolo for a number of years now.

A couple of weeks ago, Stefano Pioli was asked in a post-season press conference to name the Lazio player he has the best relationship with and despite being reluctant to answer the question, Pioli did admit he had a particular fondness for Parolo; a player who can laugh and joke in the dressing room yet be serene when necessary.

In a sense, Parolo's personality is reflective of Lazio's new identity and vice versa. This Lazio enjoy their football yet are focused and determined when needs be. Parolo has been, unquestionably, the most consistent performer this season, but he has also had his own moments.

An excellent brace against AC Milan in January affirmed Lazio as Champions League contenders after disappointing results at home to Napoli and in the Derby della Capitale. An equalising goal against Atalanta in a game where the other 10 Lazio players simply did not turn up is perhaps, with the benefit of hindsight, the most important goal scored this season. Either that, or the strike in the final game of the season against Napoli which put Lazio on the cusp of the Champions League; which, of course, was also courtesy of Marco Parolo.

That, in a nutshell, is why Marco Parolo is the 2014-15 LazioLand Player of the Season. 
Author: Cathal Mullan
 
 
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