Serie A Team of the Week: Tevez torments poor Parma

The best performers in the latest round of Italian league action are recognised by Goal in our all-star XI

The top two teams in Italy spent their weekends boosting their goal difference, but elsewhere around the peninsula there was a plethora of performances worthy of inclusion in the Goal Team of the Week for round 11 in Serie A.

Orestis Karnezis is selected behind a 4-2-4 formation following his wonderful performance for Udinese against Palermo. It was thanks to the Greek that his side took a point from Sicily, saving Franco Vazquez’s second-half penalty and stopping a string of other fine efforts from the home side.

The back four begins with the goalscoring workhorse that was Stephan Lichtsteiner in Juventus’ huge win over Parma, and he’s joined by Empoli hero Daniele Rugani. The young centre-back was imperious in the 2-1 victory against Lazio, keeping out Michael Ciani with one superb challenge. Kalidou Koulibaly helped Napoli beat Fiorentina away from home with a towering display, keeping out Manuel Pasqual’s effort with a goal-line clearance, too. Our left-back spot is taken up by Mario Rui, who kept Lazio’s Antonio Candreva quiet and supplied an excellent assist for Massimo Maccarone to bag Empoli’s second goal.

Our two-man midfield sees Seydou Keita recognised for his all-round superb showing at the heart of Roma’s 3-0 victory against Torino, with team-mate Miralem Pjanic also receiving a call thanks to his return to form which saw him play a part in goals for Keita and Adem Ljajic.

A fantastic four of strikers leads our all-conquering XI, Sergio Pellissier marking a rare start with two goals in Chievo’s win over Cesena to grab the first position. Paulo Dybala was a lively figure from start to finish for Palermo, grabbing one goal from the spot and forcing a number of saves out of Udinese’s Karnezis at the Renzo Barbera. Meanwhile, the final two slots are taken by Juventus’ starting strikers: Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez snatched two goals each as Parma were demolished 7-0 in Turin, ending a poor run for the Spaniard whilst continuing a fine series of displays by the irrepressible Argentine. And as for that length-of-the-field goal… Wow!

Pjanic: I rejected a transfer to Bayern Munich

EXCLUSIVE: Ahead of Roma’s trip to the Allianz Arena, the gifted midfielder has revealed that he turned down the chance to join the reigning Bundesliga champions at the age of 18

By Jasmin Ligata

Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic has revealed that he was close to joining Bayern Munich in the summer of 2008, but he eventually opted to move to Olympique Lyonnais instead.

The Bosnia-Herzegovina star was one of Europe’s most sought-after youngsters at the time following an impressive 2007-08 campaign with Metz.

Bayern were one of the teams looking to lure him to the Bundesliga, but the midfielder felt he wasn’t ready for a move abroad.

“I went to Munich to discuss a transfer with Bayern when I was 18,” the creative midfielder told Goal.

“It’s not that anything went wrong, but I simply decided that Olympique Lyonnais would be a better option for me in the end.

“I don’t think I was ready for a club as big as Bayern at the time, so I decided to stay in France. I already knew the language and people knew me, so Lyon were the best option.

“And I don’t have any regrets over that decision. It was the right move at the time.”

Pjanic enjoyed two fine seasons with Lyon before then joining Roma in the summer of 2010, where he has since developed into an important first-team member.

The 24-year-old then went on to discuss Wednesday’s Champions League encounter with Bayern at the Allianz Arena and stressed that Roma are determined to make amends for their 7-1 home defeat two weeks ago.

“I would be happy with a draw in Munich. I am convinced that a result like the 7-1 defeat will never happen again,” he stated.

“We went through something similar to Brazil at the World Cup. This week’s game will be much closer, though.

“We are not really talking about revenge, but getting a point would leave us in a good position to qualify for the knockout stages. The game against Manchester City is the most important one for us.”

Roma currently sit second in Group E with four points from three games.

Suarez is the biggest Ballon d'Or injustice, say Goal readers

More than half the voters believe the former Liverpool ace should have been named on the 23-man initial shortlist for the award, with Luka Modric coming second

Luis Suarez is the most glaring omission from the 23-man initial shortlist to win the Fifa Ballon d’Or, according to Goal readers.

Eyebrows were raised on Tuesday when the list of nominees for the game’s greatest individual prize were announced as Suarez – who won the PFA Player of the Year award as he inspired Liverpool to a second-placed finish – was left out.

Goal readers were similarly aghast at the decision not to include the Barcelona striker, with 53.9 per cent believing that the Uruguayan’s omission was the biggest injustice – over half of the overall vote.

Luka Modric came second in our poll, with 19.3% of readers saying the Real Madrid midfielder can count himself most unlucky to have missed out on a place after helping his side to Copa del Rey and Champions League glory.

Borussia Dortmund star Marco Reus appears in third with 7.3% of the votes, just ahead of Juventus and Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal, who earned 5.2%.

Robert Lewandowski finished fifth in our poll, just a fraction ahead of Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey, who seemed destined to earn the chance to battle for the game’s top individual honour until injury curtailed his year.

Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin earned just 2.5% of the votes, ahead of Roma star Miralem Pjanic (1.1%) and Ivan Rakitic (0.9%). Finally, 1.7% of readers believe another name in world football deserved a place in the 23.

Take a look at the shortlist for the 2014 Fifa Ballon d’Or in full here.

Suarez misses out on Fifa Ballon d'Or nomination

The Uruguay international guided Liverpool to the Champions League last term with his goals, but it was not enough to make the 23-man shortlist

Barcelona star Luis Suarez has missed out on a nomination for the 2014 Fifa Ballon d’Or despite his incredible season for Liverpool last term.

The Uruguay international fired the Anfield side to third place in the Premier League with 31 goals in 2013/14 – thus securing Champions League football – while winning the European Golden Shoe and Premier League top scorer awards in the process.

However, Fifa has opted to leave Suarez off their 23-man shortlist after he missed four months of action due to suspension for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup in Brazil.

Other notable absentees include Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery, who came in third in last year’s vote, his team-mate Robert Lewandowski, Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal and fellow Serie A star Miralem Pjanic, as well as Real Madrid’s Luka Modric.

Barcelona’s lack of silverware this year means regulars such as Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Xavi have not made the list either.

Furthermore, several accomplished Premier League players have been overlooked, with Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Sergio Aguero, Aaron Ramsey and Nemanja Matic all missing out.

'Roma couldn't string three passes together' – Pjanic embarrassed by Bayern beating

The Bosnian was stunned that the Bavarians so easily swept aside last season’s Scudetto runners-up and blamed conceding in the opening 10 minutes on his side’s capitulation

Miralem Pjanic expressed his embarrassment that Roma “couldn’t string three or four passes together” as they were thrashed by Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Arjen Robben (two), Mario Gotze, Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Franck Ribery and Xherdan Shaqiri all got on the scoresheet as Pep Guardiola’s men easily dispatched the Giallorossi at the Stadio Olimpico, with only a Gervinho consolation goal to take from the 7-1 hammering.

Pjanic was shocked at how he and his Roma team-mates were humiliated in the Champions League group stage game, but believes it all could have gone so differently had they not let Bayern take the lead in the opening 10 minutes.

“If we hadn’t conceded the goal so early, it would’ve been a different game,” the midfielder, 24, told Sky Sport.

“Bayern pressed for 90 minutes, never allowing us space, as every time we had the ball in midfield there was someone on us.

“We couldn’t string three or four passes together or play our usual football. It’s a crying shame, we faced a very strong side, but we are still second in the group and have to avoid anything like this happening again.

“We expected a very different night. It is difficult to accept it or to say anything intelligent or constructive. This is not the real Roma and I can’t explain what happened.

“No one expected this, now we have to put it behind us and from Saturday start winning again.”

Roma have Serie A games against Sampdoria, Cesena and Napoli to regain some confidence before they travel to the Allianz Arena to face Bayern again on Wednesday November 5.

Last season’s Scudetto runners-up remain second in Group E due to Manchester City and CSKA Moscow’s draw prior to Roma’s heavy defeat on Tuesday.