In Focus: Six Serie A stars to look out for in 2021-22
Serie A kicks off this evening and there are plenty of superstars ready to set Italy's top flight alight.
Inter Milan won the title last season to end nine years of Juventus dominance, preventing the Turin side from securing a coveted 10th championship in a row.
With a host of new managers and new players to complement existing stars, 2021-22 could be one of the most intriguing campaigns in recent times.
We turn the spotlight on six stars who can shape the storylines in Serie A this season.
Napoli star Lorenzo Insigne has long been linked with a move away from his boyhood club but remains in Naples to captain the side.
It will be his 10th full season at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.
Over that time, the 30-year-old has become a pivotal cog, using his agility and skill to cause the opposition problems by cutting in from the left flank.
Last season was his best goalscoring return to date in Serie A, recording an impressive 19 goals in 35 games.
Fresh from playing his part in Italy’s Euro 2020 glory, the diminutive winger will be looking to make Napoli title challengers once again.
Another season at the club will likely see him move up to fourth in Napoli’s all-time appearances list, ahead of legendary defender Moreno Ferrario.
Another key part of Italy’s Euro 2020 triumph, Juventus winger Federico Chiesa is going into his second season in Turin after joining from Fiorentina.
The 23-year-old attracted interest from clubs across Europe before signing for the Old Lady and his value continues to rise at the Allianz Stadium.
Capable of playing from either wing, Chiesa notched eight goals and assists in the league last term and will be aiming for double figures in at least one of those categories in 2021-22.
Dusan Vlahovic had a breakthrough campaign for Fiorentina in 2020-21, confirming his status as one of the best young strikers around.
The Serbian, 21, has been with the Tuscan side since moving to Florence from Partizan Belgrade as an 18-year-old in 2018.
His 21 goals from 37 appearances last term placed him fourth in the Serie A goalscoring charts behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku and Luis Muriel.
Fiorentina will hope Vlahovic’s goals can propel them up the table, beyond last season’s disappointing finish of 13th.
But they will have a tough time keeping hold of their prolific frontman, who has been linked with Manchester City, if he hits the heights again this time out.
Giacomo Raspadori is one of many success stories coming out of Sassuolo, who were promoted to Serie A for the first time in 2013 and have remained in the top flight ever since.
The youth academy graduate rose through the ranks and earned a call-up to Italy's squad for Euro 2020 — even managing to get on the pitch for a few minutes in a 1-0 win against Wales.
Domenico Berardi’s goals have been key to Sassuolo’s success and Raspadori will be hoping to increase his own attacking output to reach that of his team-mate.
The forward, 21, has already captained his club and is tipped to improve on the six Serie A goals he netted last term.
Lautaro Martinez has been a man in demand this summer — and it is not hard to see why.
The 23-year-old linked up superbly with Lukaku last season to help fire Inter to the Serie A title, leading to interest from North London sides Arsenal and Tottenham this summer.
Not only did the Argentine star contribute 17 goals but he also racked up six assists across 35 top-flight appearances for the Nerazzurri.
He is now arguably the most valuable player in Italy after the departure of his former strike partner to Chelsea.
Along with attacking midfielder Luis Alberto, the presence of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has been a big reason for Lazio’s impressive campaigns in recent years.
They won the Coppa Italia in 2019 under former manager Simone Inzaghi, while finishing in the top eight for the past seven seasons.
The goals of Ciro Immobile have been key to this but 26-year-old Milinkovic-Savic’s continued presence in midfield has helped the Rome-based club maintain their current status among Italy’s elite teams.
In what could be a transformational season for the side from the Italian capital, they will be looking to kick on under new head coach Maurizio Sarri.