When a club lifts a trophy, it's never just one man responsible. The team as a whole has to come together throughout the whole run of the competition, and Napoli's Coppa Italia win was no exception. Still, though, a few standouts can always be found, and that was certainly the case in this edition of the Coppa Italia tournament.
Now, with the glow of the celebrations fresh in our minds, it's time to choose one name. One name that represents the best of what Napoli had to offer in the Coppa Italia. One name chosen to be the Officially Unofficial Siren's Song Player Of The Tournament. Who should it be?
With three goals and two assists, no Napoli player was more directly involved in the outcome of Coppa Italia matches than Callejon. The Spanish winger has been a revelation this season, going from a spare part at Real Madrid to one of the finest wingers in Italy in the course of just twelve months.
While many will point at Callejon's goals as his most important contributions to Napoli's Coppa run (and his Atalanta brace and opener in the home leg of the Roma tie were certainly vital), those two assists may have been even more crucial. The first came against Lazio, when in the dying minutes he found Gonzalo Higuain about to get just a hair free and put in a perfect ball for the Argentine poacher to latch on to, giving Napoli a goal and keeping the match from going to extra time and penalties.
Even that assist pales in importance when compared to the one he delivered on Saturday, when he made a brilliant run in extra time with Napoli down a man and barely holding on to a one goal lead. That run ended with him centering the ball to Dries Mertens, who finished the move, but the credit for that stress-lifting and celebration-starting moment fully belongs to Callejon.
Insigne scored Napoli's second goal of the tournament and put in several venerable shifts from his left wing position before scoring two incredible goals to put Napoli out in front early in the final. Even after his first two tallies, Insigne never stopped trying to find a third goal for his side, working tirelessly to find an opening in Fiorentina's defense even after Nenad Tomovic finally started marking him properly.
Even though Insigne often doesn't put up the most impressive of statistics when he's not scoring, it's rare for him to put in an actual poor performance. He's always running tirelessly, harrying his opponents' back line and forcing them to account for him even if he's struggling to get directly involved in the match. Never was that more apparent than in the Lazio match and the first leg of the Roma tie, when his runs and movement were responsible for opening space that lead to Napoli goals in both matches. Insigne isn't just a local boy come good, he's an embodiment of the football credo that you don't have to have the ball to help your team win matches.
Mertens only started one Coppa match, but scored two vital goals in his three substitute appearances, including the vital match-sealing goal in injury time of the final. In his one start, the second leg of the semi-final, Mertens also delivered the defense-splitting through ball that Jorginho finished to put Napoli up 3-0 and end any remote hope that Roma had of coming back in the tie.
Mertens has been a frequent feature off Napoli's bench this season, thanks in no small part to his energy, work rate, and finishing ability. He consistently come on and uses his ability to read the match to disrupt what Napoli's opponents are doing, and thus change the entire flow of the match. That was never more true than it was Saturday, when he relieved a limping Marek Hamsik, as his constant harrying of Fiorentina's midfield helped stem the tide of their attack. He also created danger on more than one occasion, and when Callejon was able to deliver a ball he could capitalize on, he did not let the chance go wasting. Even without the goal, the effort and performance that Mertens put in yesterday does not go unnoticed.
While Albiol didn't score a single goal in the tournament, he was the only Napoli player to play every minute of all five matches. He's been the heart of Napoli's defense all season long, proving to be far more important than could have been anticipated before the season. His performances were a vital part of both clean sheets Napoli kept during the tournament, especially the second leg of the semi-final with Roma.
Albiol wasn't quite at his best in the final, but the whole of his body of work during the Coppa run certainly deserves consideration. There were a number of times throughout that he single-handedly kept opponents from scoring, including key moments that would have seen Napoli fall behind or give up an equalizing goal. He also made multiple heroic stands in the first leg of the semi-final that kept the scoreline as close as it was, thus keeping Napoli in position to put together the fantastic second leg performance that saw them through to the final. Defenders are rarely a sexy choice for such awards, but it'd be hard to go wrong with Albiol.
Who was your player of the tournament for the Coppa Italia? Vote below! If you think it should be someone other than the four listed above, tell us who that is in the comments!