Serie A and B
Maxwell Acosty (Latina): The 24-year-old Ghanaian winger continues to look like Latina's best player, notching an assist last week against Cagliari (1:22 in the video--also note Gianni Munari, of all people, opening the scoring). If nothing else, he's increased his value quite a bit if the club wants to sell him, but he could prove a useful role player as well. On the year, he's made 25 appearances, with 23 starts, tallying 7 goals and 4 assists.
Jaime Báez (Livorno): The 20-year-old Uruguayan attacker played the first hour in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Cesena. He's appeared in all five games for the Triglie since making the move, including three starts. He's been used all over the pitch by manager Christian Panucci, working up top, as a number 10, and on the wing. He's yet to score, but has clearly established himself as a crucial part of the attack, and his arrival has coincided with a strong run of form for the club. The next step is to start scoring, but he's certainly settled in well.Ricardo Bagadur (Salernitana): The 20-year-old Croatian centerback made his debut for the the second-bottom Granata last week in the 0-4 thumping at Ternana, then drew the start in Sunday's surprising 1-1 draw against second-place Crotone. The former youth international may have even forced his way into the starting lineup.
Filippo Bandinelli (Latina): The 20-year-old winger hasn't been in the match day squad in months. This looks like something of a lost season for him.
Joshua Brillante (Como): The 22-year-old Australian midfielder was on the bench for Saturday's 0-1 loss at Ascoli, but got his first assist last week in the 1-1 draw at Novara (1:04 in the video) with a lovely low cross. He's moved out of the midfield and back in at rightback, where he's looked a bit more comfortable, and may end up not being as much a lost cause as we might have thought.
Leonardo Capezzi (Crotone): The 20-year-old midfield boss played the full 90 in Sunday's 1-1 draw against Salernitana. As one of the most impressive players for the surprisingly 2nd-placed Pitagorici, he certainly looks ready for a step up next year well in line with his youth international pedigree. Don't be shocked if he nails down a spot with Fiorentina next season.
Nicolò Fazzi (Crotone): The 20-year-old attacker hasn't made the matchday squad since his last minute transfer from Virtus Entella. Maybe Capezzi can talk him up enough to get him into the setup.
Gilberto (Hellas Verona): The 22-year-old wingback spent Saturday's derby win over Chievo Verona on the bench. He's nailed down a supersub role for the Scaglieri, playing the final 20 or so minutes of 3 of the 4 games he's been with them, which coincides with a strong run of form for the bottom-table side. Now he just needs to crack the first XI.
Cedric Gondo (Ternana): The 19-year-old Ivorian attacker played 33 substitute minutes on the wing in Saturday's 1-2 win at Novara. He's really settling into his supersub role for the Rossoverdi, having come off the bench for the past 3 matches. In what's been an uneven and frustrating season, maybe this new role will suit him well enough for him to really get going like he used to for the Primavera.
Gianluca Mancini (Perugia): The 19-year-old centerback played the whole game in Saturday's 0-2 loss to Trapani. He's started 3 of the last 7, but remains more of a squad player than a member of the starting XI for now. Given that central defenders usually need plenty of playing time to fully develop, this is a good level for him to try and win a spot.
Ante Rebić (Hellas Verona): The 22-year-old Croatian attacker was on the bench for the win over Chievo. After missing his first four matches with his new club, he's finally healthy and will doubtless be hoping for a platform to prove himself. Let's just hope he cuts down on the absurd fouls.
Amidu Salifu (Brescia): The 23-year-old Ghanaian midfield destroyer played the final 13 minutes in Saturday's 0-1 loss at Modena. Slowly working his way back to full fitness, he's done well to come off the bench for the past 3 matches. Now that he seems fully healthy, it's time for him to grab a starting spot for the rest of the year.
Andrés Schetino (Livorno): The 21-year-old Uruguayan defensive midfielder hasn't made the matchday squad yet, although it's probably more a matter of him getting settled into a new country than anything else.
Lorenzo Venuti (Brescia): The 20-year-old youth international fullback remains in the doghouse, spending the past two matches on the bench. Apparently Roberto Boscaglia is quite rightly (although perhaps a bit harshly) sending a strong message to his club that horror tackles won't be tolerated. All we can do now is hope that the youngster bounces back and reclaims his spot.
Luca Zanon (Virtus Entella): The 19-year-old leftback hasn't made it off the bench since picking up an injury in October and losing his place. Now he faces an uphill battle to see the pitch again, but he's got the talent to make it happen.
Lower Italian leagues
Daniele Ansini (Viterbese Castrense): The 20-year-old midfielder has been on the bench for the past several matches, but has made several starts through the season.
Alessandro Bacci (Robur Siena): The 20-year-old goalkeeper remains benched, although to losses on the trot could see him get a chance between the sticks for the 6th-placed Robur.
Lorenzo Bardini (Prato): The 19-year-old goalkeeper was absolutely shelled in the 0-4 loss at SPAL, but managed a clean sheet in the previous match tie against Lucchese. A former U-16 youth international (and Florence native), he looks to be well on his way.
Marco Berardi (Pordenone): The 19-year-old midfielder played the final 9 minutes of Saturday's 0-2 win at Cremonense. Although he was a regular starter at the beginning of the year, he's been reduced to late substitute cameos since missing a match in early Decemeber with an unknown injury. Capable of playing through the middle or out wide, here's hoping he fights for his place back.
Axel Gulin (Catania): The 20-year-old winger hasn't been in Catania's matchday squad for the past couple of weeks. After getting half an hour on his debut, it seems things have started to sour for him in Sicily. While he's not likely to nail down a starting spot, becoming a spark plug off the bench is an attainable goal, and one he should be working towards.
Saverio Madrigali (Arezzo): The 21-year-old centerback played the full 90 minutes in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Carrarese. Now firmly a part of the first XI, he could be ready for a step up to Serie B next year, although he probably needs another season or two of regular playing time before he's ready for a real role with Fiorentina.
Jacopo Pagnini (Poggibonsi): The 19-year-old goalkeeper continues as Poggibonsi's number 1, and may be ready for a slightly greater challenge next season.
Diego Peralta (Pisa): The 19-year-old winger got 20 minutes in Saturday's 1-2 win against Tuttocuoio, and has shown glimpses of real quality in his season as Gennaro Gatusso's go-to attacking option off the bench.
Jacopo Petriccione (Pistoiese): The 21-year-old midfield schemer went the distance in Saturday's scoreless draw at Lucchese, picking up a yellow card in the 74th minute. His predilection for getting himself in the book means he probably needs another year at this level before moving up, but he's got time. In fact, his birthday was just yesterday.
Marko Bakić (Belenenses--Portugal): The 22-year-old Montenegrin midfielder played all 90 minutes in the 0-2 loss against Arouca on Sunday, picking up a yellow card at the end of the first half. Last week, though, he headed in the decisive goal off a corner in the 2-3 win at Moreirense, which gives him 2 goals and an assist in just 5 appearances. Finally healthy and getting regular minutes, he's demonstrating that his early promise (and 7 senior caps) weren't just an illusion.
Steve Leo Beleck (CFR Cluj--Romania): The 23-year-old Cameroonian striker has spent the last 2 weeks parked on the bench, as the Romanian season has resumed after a 2 month break; it seems a shame, as he was playing well just before the layoff, but hopefully he can recapture that form in short order.
Mario Gómez (Beşiktaş--Turkey): The 30-year-old German striker was the difference in Monday's 1-0 win against Gençlerbirliği. This brings his domestic total up to 16, which leads the Süper Lig (second is Samuel Eto'o, who's apparently still playing). Marione definitely has his scoring boots back, but is unlikely to spend next year in Florence; whether he returns to Beşiktaş or if they sell him to Manchester United, he's almost certainly done in purple.
Ianis Hagi (Viitorul Constanta--Romania): The 17-year-old Romanian attacker was benched for Sunday's 1-2 win at Petrolul Ploiești. He did start last week's 1-2 loss to CSMS Iasi, playing on the right wing and wearing the captain's armband he lost shortly before the midseason break. All in all, it seems he's progressing well under his father's watchful eye.
Giuseppe Rossi (Levante): The 29-year-old striker notched a penalty (3:41 in the video)and an "assist" (0:44) in Friday's 3-0 demolition of Getafe. Besides those contributions, he looked lively throughout, demonstrating his ability to find space to turn and shoot in the box. If he keeps up like this, he'll be back to being our Pepino in no time.
Rafał Wolski (KV Mechelen--Belgium): It's gone from bad to worse for the 23-year-old Polish midfielder, as he's been frozen out of the squad for the past month. His last action came as a leftback, of all things, so it's safe to say that his once-promising career has rather gone off the rails.