Argentina (and Juventus) have a Paulo DYBALA conundrum

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When you ask most soccer fans about the talent the Argentina national team has, a name that will pop up nearly every time is Paulo DYBALA. The Juventus forward has flung himself into the national spotlight since transferring to Turin in 2015, becoming a crucial figure for the club and even being christened as the club’s new “No. 10”.

There is no denying that DYBALA has immense talent. He is a fantastic dribbler, has an eye for creating scoring chances and can finish like a striker. He isn’t overly fast, but he’s agile and has good acceleration. Not any player can score 17 goals as an 18-year-old in the Argentine second division, move to Palermo and help gain promotion and follow it up with a 13-goal season, then move to Juventus and score 77 goals and notch 31 assists in 172 appearances as an attacking midfielder.

Despite his accomplishments and performances to this point in his career, DYBALA’s usage for his club and national team continues to perplex. DYBALA made his national team debut in October of 2015. He missed out on the 2016 Copa America, but was frequently called up by Edgardo BAUZA and Jorge SAMPAOLI following the tournament. Since 2015, DYBALA has appeared in a measly 18 matches for his national team and scored just one goal.

Under Massimiliano Allegri at Juventus, DYBALA continually gets playing time, but he routinely gets subbed off with 10-30 minutes remaining in many matches. This season, with Cristiano Ronaldo on the team and Fernando Bernardeschi improving, a logjam at the wing positions has been created, and DYBALA has suffered because of it. Across all competitions (36 total matches), he has come off the bench six times for a total of 72 minutes. And he has been unused and left on the bench on four different occasions. It’s only gotten worse recently, as he’s been a substitute over the last two Serie A matches and only played five minutes in a massive clash against Napoli over the weekend.

Argentinian national team fans consistently call for DYBALA to start and be the centerpiece of La Albiceleste, yet he doesn’t even appear to be an unquestioned fixture for his club’s plans. Several Argentina managers have noticed and it’s no coincidence that DYBALA hasn’t been a stipend in starting lineups for the national team under four different coaches: Tata MARTINO, BAUZA, SAMPAOLI and Lionel SCALONI. Sure, his penchant for hanging around the right wing – in the same position as Leo MESSI – has had something to do with that, but even when MESSI hasn’t played, DYBALA has started in just five of those matches.

I don’t believe his sporadic playing time at Juve is a problem of his, as DYBALA is more of a center forward or second striker than he is a right wing, plus he has plenty of competition at the position. But the fact that an assortment of coaches hasn’t been able to fit him in with other star players is a legitimate concern that shouldn’t just be glossed over. Say what you will about any of his previous or current managers, they are among the best in the world. They know more than us, and DYBALA not being an indispensable figure on an every-week, every-match basis should tell us all we need to know about the player’s dependability.

DYBALA is a wonderful talent who has the ability to break matches wide open and decide the final outcome. That is valuable, but he just hasn’t proven to be extremely consistent, which is expected of a player of his supposed caliber. His contributions are a tier or two below the Messis, Ronaldos, Neymars and even Mbappes of the sport. His managers have recognized that. We should, too, and lower our expectations in the process.

32 COMMENTS

  1. I think Dybala and Cr7 can play well together because Dybala will do what Benzema did at RM and with Costa on the right and a Mandzukic who can replace anyone as he can play in any position, the attack is very sexy. The real pbm is they don’t have a creative CM who can create connection between lines. Pjanic is great but he is a regista and thus stay in deeper position.

    Remember his days in Palermo with Vazquez as half 8 behind him, he played incredibly well. He just need more support. I found that currently he always received long ball with 1 or 2 defenders behind his back, it’s just shit. I am sure that Ramsey will be helpful on that.

  2. I am juve fan. Dybala is like Del Piero, I still remember that trio Zidane-Del Piero, Inzaghi, the perfect balance. Also loved that Nedved, Cameronesi as wingers supporting the attack Del Piero-Trezeguet. Dybala should be used in the same way. Either with a playmaker behind him and a fast striker or 2 hardworking wingers supporting him and a strong fwd in a 442. The 1st case should be the only scenario we can see Messi and Dybala together on the pitch. Maybe Benedetto could be that striker, similar to Inzaghi, looking for any opportunity at the limit of offside. Will be fun to see Messi behind Benedetto and Dybala, worth to try.

  3. My squad
    Defenders:Sarvia Otamendi Pezella Lisandro Martinez Mussachio Sotto
    Midfielder: Lanzini Lamela Di maria Banega Lo celso Paredes
    Forward: Messi Aguero Dybla Benedetto De Paul

  4. My first x1.

    Ague-Messi
    Lanz
    Pala-Asca-LoCe
    Tagl-Otam-Paze-Sara

    sub x1;

    Lata
    DePa-Dyba-DiMa
    Pard-Bata
    Acun-Mori-Mamm-Merc

    Note:
    Mammana vs Foyth
    Depaul & Dimaria vs Pereyra & Lamela.

  5. Defensa y Justicia with another minimal win in Superliga. Martinez and Barboza good performances. Let’s see wheter Scaloni will be convinced.

    • We need a tall guy like Barboza coz most of the CBs are short and a fullback who can play as CB and even DM like Lisandro Martinez. I realize that in any winning team, you can always find that profile of fullback

  6. He showed great potential in his Palermo days and partly fulfilled it in Turin. This season is different. The arrival of CR changed the spotlight, new system and maybe too many distractions. His pretty face sells tshirts, games, clothing etc. All this merchandise business and attention from women does have an impact on him.

    • I think you hit the right point, especially with your last point. The kid is getting distracted with many off the pitch things and not with footbal matters.

  7. Leo Messi improved playing with Ronaldinho , Neymar improved with Messi. But has any one ever improved playing with Cristiano Ronaldo ? Rather Bemzema sacrificed his position for him , now Dybala is benched and if he remains in Juventus he will just end his career. He should go to Spain for his betterment. We want to see him as the best player in the world one day.

  8. messi is messi ,we cant rely on dybala to seceed messi. we should think about how to build up a team without messi. we have lots of talent but please dont rely on only one player. of course we should give youngster chacne to shine in NT, but that is limited,dybala had been given many chances in NT only one goal,i think that is enough or at least should be benched in NT untill a significant improvement seen.

  9. both icardi and dybala are not that impressive at all. the former heavily depends on midfield a typical europe style scorer.the later is slow in motion ,weak in body and short despite can dribble and creat chance some time but mostly loss ball control easily .this season his shooting skill is below standard.

  10. he is the most overestimated player. i follow every match he played.not that impressive at all . may be we should pay more attention to others. he is short and slow and particularly weak in body which doesnt suit in premier league.

  11. Maybe it’s time to move from Italy. Of course Italy is conpetetive as ever now but La Liga is getting conpetetive too but they have open spots for everyone. Lo Celso is an example. He moved from farmer Ligue 1 in time so he is still deceloping and adapting to more styles of play. Serie A has great players but their playing style is slow. If Paulo can get a taste of more pacier play, he can improve and he will for sure have a better chance if starting.

  12. Nicely written article and spot on… If there is one thing coaches can’t tolerate, its inconsistency. Allegri has never bought in 100% and now with CR in the mix, they have other world class options. I think its time for Dybala to get out of Italy. His game might be better suited for a club in Spain other than Barca or RM where he can play everyday.

  13. Thank you for the article but I respectfully disagree, Dybala’s been top notch for Juve for 2 seasons before CR7 showed up and now he’s either used as a sub or so far on the right that he might as well be the ball boy. It should be noted that Dybala is by far the best player for Juve in the CL with 5 goals (6 if CR wasn’t such a ball hog) while no one else even have 2!
    As for Argentina, well Argentina’s been a mess since Martino left no thanks to the AFA so it’s not like the team’s been doing well but Dybala is the one who was crapping the bed.

    I don’t think Dybala is the next Messi and I’ve never treated him as such but I still think the kid can be one of the biggest in the world, but that can’t happen if he continues to be misplaced, which is what Allegri is doing to him and he needs to leave Juve by the end of the season.
    Argentina needs to sort itself out everything from the AFA to Scaloni who in-turn needs to find a style of play that fits the talent that he in his possession.

    • End of palermo and beginning of Juve, he was as close to the “next messi” as any other argentine. He’s actually really consistent with 20-30+ goals and assist for the last 5 years. hes easily ranked as best in serie for several years now. Hes stepped up big time in league and important CL matches and is loved by Juve fans. I still contend that our freaking coaches need to figure out how to make Messi and Dybala click. Aside from Aguero and Messi, Dybala is one of our deadliest threats in front of goal and around the box.

      Couldn’t agree more that hes needs to GTFO of Italy, with their ugly futbol. He’ll reach the next level in Spain.

      • Mate dybala Is very talant the
        Problem is juventus manager
        never liked la joy they had
        Few problems there and than
        But when Ronaldo came it got a lot
        Worse allegri will never drop ronaldo
        Even though he playing consistently
        S…. last time I checked about
        La joy he was linking man city
        I realy hope that transfer happen
        In this summer regardless weather
        Allegri go or stay I don’t like the
        Fact that dybala playing with Ronaldo
        He need to leave juve.

    • When a player is taking threatening position and the manager won’t give you playing time despite your efforts, it is a sign to move on. Most clubs hold on to/sign players for “backup”, or with the intention to take another club’s opportunity to improve. Few playera are signed with the intention to be put in the squad or be a center piece. Clubs like Juventus won’t waste time and money to help a talent get better, but rather to maintain. Right now, Paulo’s skill is better than the rest but his consitency is low and Juve refuse to help him improve.

  14. How do you expect somebody to be consistent when they’re played out of position? Dybala’s best years were when he played as a CF. Just look at the stats.

    • I remember the game against Napoli. Paulo didn’t score but he helped assist and beat them 3-0. It was glorious, Paulo was in position and the team was in good condition.

    • It sucks for me, too, to even write this. I adore Dybala as a person and I enjoy watching him play, but he just seems to be missing something that top-tier players have and allows them to play at a high level for any team or coach.

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