Is this the moment Paulo Dybala arrived on the world scene?
Argentine forward lights up Turin with magnificent performance
Many were expecting a fantastic clash on Tuesday night as Juventus hosted Barcelona in a repeat of the 2015 Champions League Final – and it didn’t disappoint.
Punters still had Barca’s historic comeback against PSG fresh in the memory and money was being put down for Luis Enrique’s men to snatch a vital first leg win in northern Italy, but it wasn’t to go the way some were anticipating.
Lionel Messi naturally attracted lots of first and anytime goal scorer bets, but it was another diminutive Argentine striker who stole the limelight.
Big money move
Paulo Dybala was brought to Serie A by Palermo in 2012 at the tender age of 19 and was branded the “new Sergio Aguero” by Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini. 21 goals in 89 appearances during his three years with the Sicilian club earned him a big money move in 2015.
Juventus were the club to come knocking and laid out a whopping €32m to get their man. He took over the number 21 shirt, previously vacated by Italian legend Andrea Pirlo that summer, and hasn’t looked back since.
He’s forced his way into the Juventus starting XI and showed he’s made of the right stuff, notching 16 goals in 35 appearances for the Old Lady this season. He’s also bagged 4 in his 6 Champions League appearances, including that brace on Tuesday, showing he clearly has what it takes to make it at the top.
Changing of the guard?
At 29 years of age, Messi is hardly a dinosaur and is more than capable of creating magical moments in any game at any time. But he was a shadow of himself at the Juventus Stadium on Tuesday evening and his compatriot put in a very Messi-esque performance. His first goal in particular one that we’ve saw Messi execute many a time in the past.
It’s a very exciting time for both Juventus and Argentina, as the South American country continues to somehow keep on producing these special players.
That first leg win means Juve go to the Camp Nou with a strong three goal lead, making them 3/1 second favourites for the tournament and that could represent good value if they then go to Spain and get a win.
Too much too soon?
We could be getting ahead of ourselves massively here though. There have been plenty of players in the past that have shown massive potential, only to fade away and end up struggling to find a club in their late 20s, but at Juventus and under the tutorage of Massimiliano Allegri, he certainly has the perfect foundation to do great things in the game.
If he can replicate that performance at the Camp Nou on Wednesday April 19th, you can rest assured that the world’s top clubs will sit up and take notice.
Who do you think will win the Champions League this season? Make sure you get yourself over to Coral and back your pick!