The 2020-21 season ended with Inter winning their first title in 11 years as Antonio Conte brought to a halt Juventus’ domestic domination that had begun under his tenure in 2011.
It was the fourth Serie A title in Conte’s coaching career, finishing the season with an 11-point lead over second-placed Milan. Inter had gone since 2009-10 since winning the Scudetto, but ended their barren spell in style.
The first full season played during the COVID era saw a packed fixture list, with most teams playing a game every three days. There were postponements due to COVID positives, and rows over how the postponements should have been handled, dating back to the very first weeks of the season when Juventus and Napoli had their game called off in farcical circumstances.
The title race remained wide open until February, when the Nerazzurri beat Milan 3-0 in the derby. The Rossoneri had been crowned Winter Champions after the Girone d’Andata, but only guaranteed a top four finish in the final game of the season. The same was true for Juventus, while Atalanta qualified for the Champions League for the third season in a row and with two games to spare.
Napoli were held to a 1-1 draw by Hellas Verona in the last game of the season, meaning they will play Europa League football next season along with Lazio. Roma finished seventh and will play the UEFA Conference League under José Mourinho next term.
Benevento slipped from 11th to the drop zone in the second part of the season and will be joined by Parma and Crotone in Serie B, while newly-promoted Spezia gained Serie A survival in their first-ever season in Italy’s top flight.
Relive the highs, lows and extraordinary in-between moments in Football Italia’s season review of 2020-21.
Player of the Season – Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku provided the goals that fired Inter to the Scudetto. Leading the line in conjunction with Lautaro Martinez and brilliantly linking midfield and attack, the Belgium international scored 24 goals in 36 games and silenced any lingering critics once and for all. Read more.
Coach of the Season – Antonio Conte
The mastermind behind Inter’s dominant Scudetto, Antonio Conte brought to an end the Juventus hegemony over Serie A that he had helped start in 2011. Inter might not go on to establish a similar dynasty, but Conte leaves with his position as one of the game’s greatest coaches secure. Read more.
Capocannoniere – Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo turned 36 during the 2020-21 season but the goals kept coming. It was a difficult year for Juventus but the Portugal international upheld his personal standards and claimed the top scorers’ spot for the first time in Serie A. Read more.
Top 10 signings of the season
Few players impressed more in 2020-21 than Inter’s Achraf Hakimi. The Morocco international had a debut Serie A campaign to remember as he fit perfectly into Antonio Conte’s system, but Hakimi wasn’t the only new signing to catch the eye. Read more.
Top 10 transfer flops of the season
Belts were tightened across Serie A but a number of clubs still made expensive mistakes in the transfer market, while some big-money buys struggled badly. With the 2021 summer transfer window opening in a matter of weeks, some clubs have to get it right this time. Read more.
Club by Club
Inter – 1st – W28 D7 L3 – GF89 GA35 – Pts 91
Inter ended Juventus’ domination of Serie A with an explosive front two of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, a hard-working midfield led by Nicolo Barella and a defence marshalled by Milan Skriniar. With Antonio Conte getting it right in the dug-out, Inter were deserving champions. Read more.
Milan – 2nd – W24 D7 L7 – GF74 GA41 – Pts 79
Milan went from early league leaders and Winter Champions to almost missing out on the Champions League. But the Rossoneri held on to not only qualify but take second place, confirming their spot on the final day of the season, albeit finishing well-adrift of their city rivals. Read more.
Atalanta – 3rd – W23 D9 L6 – GF90 GA47 – Pts78
It was another banner year for the underdogs from Bergamo. Gian Pieri Gasperini’s remarkable squad out-scored every team in Serie A, averaging nearly three goals per game, impressed in Europe and clinched another year of Champions League football. Read more.
Juventus – 4th – W23 D9 L6 – GF77 GA38 – Pts78
Juventus suffered a swift and painful fall from the top of Serie A in 2020-21. Rookie coach Andrea Pirlo tried to put his own imprint on the squad but the Old Lady were never really in the Scudetto picture and Inter ended their long dominance of Italian football. Read more.
Napoli – 5th – W24 D5 L9 – GF86 GA41 – Pts77
Failure to qualify for the Champions League led to Gennaro Gattuso leaving the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona at the end of the season. But the Partenopei only missed out by a point in what was still a commendable campaign marked by the death of a legend. Read more.
Lazio – 6th – W21 D5 L12 – GF61 GA55 – Pts68
Champions League qualification was the aim for Lazio but a slow start meant they were never really in the running. But Ciro Immobile kept scoring, Simone Inzaghi enhanced his reputation and the Biancocelesti will be in next season’s Europa League. Read more.
Roma – 7th – W18 D8 L12 – GF68 GA58 – Pts62
Roma looked like launching a Champions League challenge as the season reached the half-way point, but a capitulation in 2021 eventually saw Paulo Fonseca’s contract not renewed and Jose Mourinho hired for 2021-22. What went wrong for Fonseca? Read more.
Sassuolo – 8th – W17 D11 L10 – GF64 GA56 – Pts62
Sassuolo threatened to break into the upper echelons of Serie A with their form in the early weeks of the season and while the Neroverdi tailed off, 2020-21 was still a creditable campaign. But that success is a double-edged sword as coach Roberto De Zerbi has already been snapped up. Read more.
Sampdoria – 9th – W15 D7 L16 – GF52 GA54 – Pts52
It was a season of stability for Sampdoria. Claudio Ranieri said goodbye at the end of the season but evergreen Fabio Quagliarella kept on scoring, playing his 500th Serie A game in the Blucerchiati’s final fixture of the campaign. Read more.
Verona – 10th – W11 D12 L15 – GF46 GA48 – Pts45
A season without struggling at the bottom is an achievement for Verona, but coach Ivan Juric wants more. The likes of Mattia Zaccagni and Federico Dimarco impressed but Hellas simply ran out of resources to build on a good start and push any higher than mid-table. Read more.
Genoa – 11th – W10 D12 L16 – GF47 GA58 – Pts42
Genoa had Davide Ballardini to thank for saving their season – again. Rolando Maran was sacked in December having only won once, and President Enrico Preziosi recalled Ballardini to step in and, with the help of some smart signings, safety was assured. Read more.
Bologna – 12th – W10 D11 L17 – GF51 GA65 – Pts41
Bologna finished 2020-21 in the same position they finished the season prior, though one of their youngsters did write his name in the record books. But with coach Sinisa Mihajlovic fighting for his health throughout the campaign, the biggest battle was won. Read more.
Fiorentina – 13th – W9 D13 L16 – GF47 GA59 – Pts40
Dusan Vlahovic was the lone highlight in a disappointing season for Fiorentina. The striker’s goals kept the Viola afloat as everything around him underwhelmed – and a feisty press conference from Rocco Commisso at the end of the season didn’t help. Read more.
Udinese – 14th – W10 D10 L18 – GF42 GA58 – Pts40
Gone are the days of Udinese breaking into the Champions League places. Now, just avoiding relegation is the aim and the Bianconeri did that with room to spare under Luca Gotti, with great thanks to their in-demand captain and top scorer Rodrigo De Paul. Read more.
Spezia – 15th – W9 D12 L17 – GF52 GA72 – Pts39
Spezia’s Serie A dream continues after a solid debut year in the top flight. Coach Vincenzo Italiano oversaw a season spent in the bottom half, but one in which the Aquilotti were never in serious danger – and has new American ownership to work with. Read more.
Cagliari – 16th – W9 D10 L19 – GF43 GA59 – Pts37
Hopes were high for Eusesbio Di Francesco but the former Sampdoria coach didn’t fare any better in Sardinia than he had in Genoa. Leonardo Simplici was drafted in to steer the Isolani away from danger and did just that, hitting the ground running in February. Read more.
Torino – 17th – W7 D16 L15 – GF50 GA69 – Pts37
Relegation was too close for comfort for Torino but after a season decimated by coronavirus and a long-running feud with Lazio, the Granata can at least rebuild for next year. Marco Giampaolo proved to be the wrong choice as coach and Andrea Belotti’s goals were again crucial. Read more.
Benevento – 18th – W7 D12 L19 – GF40 GA75 – Pts33
It was a season of two halves for Benevento. In the first, they were comfortably mid-table and planning for another year in Serie A. By the end of the second, they had lost their top-flight status and, after the climax of a dispiriting campaign, their coach. Read more.
Crotone – 19th – W6 D5 L27 – GF45 GA92 – Pts23
An historically bad defence meant Crotone were always doomed to relegation as they broke a decades-old record. On the way the Squali brought Serse Cosmi back to Serie A after a 10-year absence and found that Nwankwo Simy had some goals in him after all. Read more.
Parma – 20th – W3 D11 L24 – GF39 GA83 – Pts20
The Kyle Krause era was not supposed to start with relegation to Serie B. But after dismissing and then bringing back Roberto D’Aversa, the Gialloblu paid the price for being unable to hold onto a lead and not replacing key players sold last summer. Read more.