How good is Paulo Dybala?
We sat down with @juvefcdotcom to discuss Paulo Dybala! Scroll down to take a look......
Q. Right so first things first what are your general thoughts on Paulo Dybala as a player? For those unfamiliar with him(not many I'd imagine) could you describe to them exactly what type of player he is?
A. I see Dybala as one of the most versatile players that we have in the squad - He's got superb dribbling skills, sublime finishing, he can hold up the ball if required, create chances for teammates with intricate passing and crosses - He's been used as an attacking midfield, a striker, a second striker, he's even played on the wing on occasion. Last season i felt he was really being neglected by being played behind Higuain, especially as the season before he was part of a two-man attack where he partnered up with Mandzukic to great effect. Sure enough, he grew into the role last season - this season, he's started the campaign with a bang, scoring 6 goals in 3 games, really embracing his position in the new 4-2-3-1
I remember when Dybala first burst on to the scene he was lauded as a potential successor to Lionel Messi. With Mbappe, Dembele and co bursting on to the scene the spotlight has maybe drifted a bit. With that in mind where do you see Dybala in terms of the top players in world football? How far do you believe he can go?
There is literally no limit to his progression - He's 23 and he's shown that he can play across the attack and do so effectively - One thing that i think gives him an edge is that he's maturing at the right time - He's leading at Juventus in subtle ways. He's taking a more active role and he's accepting the responsibility that comes with wearing the 10 shirt. He knows what that shirt means to Juventini and he's showing that it won;t be a burden to him, rather he can and will flourish with it on his back. I think, provided he stays fit, he will be one of the players to light up European football this season - The coach has absolute faith in him and the club have shown they see him as part of the future - rather than buckle under that kind of pressure, he's relishing it.
I see Dybala as being among the very best talents in Europe right now - Not just the young talents, but all talents. He's an even more intelligent player this season, and he's got a more ruthless edge to him - A more mature approach to the game. That will come to define him this season. I'm certain of it
Q. I see. In terms of this season, with the positioning change etc what should be Dybala's target this season?
A. I think Dybala was absolutely MIA in the CL final last season and that still leaves a bitter taste - He wasn;t able to influence the game in any way and looked a shadow of the player he usually is. There are suggestions that there may be reasons for that which go beyond anything on the pitch - In spite of that, what Dybala really needs to do this season is be able to impose himself in the game more. In the first few games, we've already seen that he's dropping deep to get the ball, moving to flanks, pushing higher up - Generally improving his movement and being more proactive in terms of outthinking our opponents - These are encouraging signs. I think he's steadily improving on every aspect of his game, having hit 20 goals in debut season and roughly the same amount last season as well. This season, he's really got to play a big part against the bigger sides, as he did against Barca last season - Not just by scoring goals, but by really imposing himself on the match and being more of a creative force where we're struggling.
Q. In terms of the environment at Juventus, for those unaware how will things operate with Higuain in the mix? Will Dybala be given ample opportunity to shine or could Higuain potentially be a hinderance?
A. At first, i thought that might be the case as he was being moved behind Higuain to allow for Pipita to be the focus of the attack, while Dybala was expect to play a more central role, to provide creativity for his teammates - It's a testament to Dybala that he gradually grew into the role to the point where he was playing with a degree of consistency, sacrificing his more natural inclination to score goals for playing a more supporting role. This season, in the 3 games so far, we've seen that Higuain has struggled for fitness, while Dybala has stepped up and taken it on himself to get us over the finish line. the game against Genoa was a superb example. I think in a few weeks time, we'll see the two of them operating at a better level than now, especially when Higuain is being supported by Douglas Costa on the right, Dybala behind and Mandzukic on the left
Q. Granted it was only one game but is the game against Girona a sign of the new Juventus? Less emphasis on defence and more emphasis on the attack with Dybala and co?
A. It's a definite and deliberate shift - With Bonucci gone from the back, the defence is undoubtedly weaker than last season - The new approach will be to play more on the front foot. Last season, i saw us dominate games and perhaps not kill off matches in the right way - Signing Berna and Costa to compliment Pipa and Dybala is a definite attempt at Juve to change the style of play and to build on what Allegri started last season - A 4-2-3-1 system with 'natural' wingers who can provide that extra something in the final third of the pitch. I think this is going to be our approach going forward, but the signings of Matuidi and Howedes are a boost for the midfield and defence - Both can provide us some defensive stability and the German especially, brings leadership and experience.
Q. As a final point and I must stress it's not question I like asking but with the constant links to Barcelona do you feel Dybala will be at Juventus for the long term?
A. In an ideal world, all the talk of him wanting to stay long term would actually materialise into a strong statement from the club insisting that he's not for sale. Juve director Beppe Marotta spoke of long term shared interests between the club and dybala that are in place for years to come - Thats encouraging, as a Juventino, to see that the club are planning for something beyond a few seasons. Cynical Juvenitni would see Dybala getting the 10 as little more than an attempt to maximise profits - For me, it's about Dybala taking over the legacy of a player like Del Piero, about being a real symbol for the supporters, on and off the pitch. In this era where money dominates every aspect of the game, I don't have much hope of him staying at the club beyond a season or two, but if i choose to believe his words, I'd like to believe that he will be here for many more years to come