Wednesday April 4 2018
Dybala is no superstar

The debacle against Real Madrid left Emmet Gates wondering whether Juventus should build their team around Paulo Dybala going forward...

It’s difficult to know what Paulo Dybala made of Cristiano Ronaldo’s exquisite overhead kick last night. Most likely he wanted to applaud the Portuguese superstar, much like the 40,000 Juve fans inside the Juventus Stadium who did. Just two minutes later Dybala gave his only memorable contribution to the game, clattering recklessly into the midriff of Dani Carvajal to earn a second yellow. Off he trudged, head down towards the tunnel.

It only served to heighten the difference between the greatness in Ronaldo and the supposed greatness in Dybala. While Dybala has never been directly compared to the former - their styles are completely different – Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the measuring sticks for footballers a rung or two down on the ladder. And whilst those are once-in-a-generation talents that have soared above everyone else for so long it’s almost difficult to imagine the game pre-Messi and Ronaldo, Dybala is thought of as a player in the next band of superstars ready to take over the mantle.

Dybala is not even remotely close. His red card last night encapsulated his night. It capped off a poor, at times even cringe-worthy performance that begs the question: should Juventus build their team around him?

Without the presence of Medhi Benatia and Miralem Pjanic, many wondered what tactical scheme Max Allegri would conjure up before the match. In the context of the game and the result, it must be argued that he got his choices right. Juve did remarkably well for a majority of the game, but it was individual errors, a facet Allegri can’t control, that contributed to the seemingly one-sided result.

Dybala was the worst performer from the Juventus front six. On the ball he was ponderous, lacking any real zip or drive. On the occasion that he would attempt to slither away from Madrid defenders, he was easily dispossessed, or would throw himself on the wet Turin turf, arms outstretched, looking towards the referee like a sick dog. Indeed, his first yellow card was for simulation.

There is a genuine question to be asked about the Argentine’s big game temperament. In the Champions League, particularly, he has struggled to assert himself in the way he so often does in Serie A. The 3-0 victory against Barcelona last year aside, when has Dybala put in a performance to warrant his burgeoning reputation? You’re left to trawl the darkest corners of your brain to remember, and ultimately you’re left with nothing.

The mythical ‘half-time fight’ between Dani Alves and Leonardo Bonucci in Cardiff in last season’s final reportedly stemmed from Dybala – again - picking up a silly yellow card early in the game and letting it affect his performance thereafter. Whilst last night wasn’t a disappearing act in line with the Welsh capital, it shows a severe mental weakness that Dybala needs to overcome if he’s to be considered in that next group of players to supercede Messi and Ronaldo.

Dybala is now at a precipice in his career. He’s 25 later this year, and can no longer be thought of as an up-and-coming talent. He needs to take responsibility on the pitch. His six goals in 23 European starts isn’t exactly the tally of supposed superstars, and allowances could be made if the performances were telling, but they aren’t.

The late Michael Jackson was once asked for insight on how to become successful in your chosen profession. Jackson, without hesitation, remarked, “study the greats, and become greater.”

It’s advice Paulo Dybala could do well to heed, starting with re-watching last night’s masterclass from Ronaldo.

Have your say...
Juve needs a rebuild, and that means out with the old, including Allegri, the man is out of ideas.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 6:37pm
Well said Ferban!
on the 4th April, 2018 at 6:36pm
No Messi or Ronaldo, but still better than Benzema and Bale. Keep him Juve!
on the 4th April, 2018 at 6:32pm
Dybala is not on the levels of #7 or #10 true, but the ability of him and Higuin to not show a hint of chemistry in a big game is once again unfortunately a surprise. All credit to Ronaldo for his over head kick but what in the name of the good Lord was Buffon doin on the thru ball my grandmother god rest her soul would of shuffled her way out there to just pick it up and all that mess was avoided. GiGi is the GOAT and always in my heart but the CD is skipping, head to Parma for a swan song.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 5:33pm
Mr Gates with another beauty. I think he was the 1 that thinks Hamsik is comparable to Maradona and now he feels there were no greats before Messi & CR7. The likes of Del Piero, Totti, Baggio, Zidane, R9, Ronaldinho, Van Batsen, Romario, Zico, Pele, Garrincha, Maradona, Platini, Best, Di Stefano, Eusebio, Puskas etc were just mere fodder. Dybala does not play week in week out with all time greats as team mates doing most of the donkey work. Yes Messi n CR7 are great but they do have advantages.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 5:29pm
Pointless to criticize as I have said it many times. Juve are not even close to winning the CL the way they play throughout the year in Serie A. For me nothing has changed. Their is no fantastic link up play between the mids and the offense. They also lack midfield destroyers. Counter attacking is weak or non-existent. Allegri often seems happy to just have the team sitback and grind out results. Problem is, this is very weak preparation when it comes time to compete in Europe.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 5:12pm
Wow what an insightful article, turns out Dybala isn't a Messi or Ronaldo. Did anyone truly think he was? There won't be another this generation. But Dybala is the best player in Serie A and on a par with similar top level players excluding Messi and Ronaldo.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 4:05pm
Why doesn't Marchisio play? He's tough and can score.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 3:58pm
how can you stop ronaldo with 37 old barzagli and keeper wich beckerbauer reffered as pensioner some 5 years ago..dybala sciglio bentancour and barzagli were bad and chielini did not have good game eyther...
on the 4th April, 2018 at 3:30pm
- "While Dybala has never been directly compared to the former - their styles are completely different "

- Then proceeds to compare the two throughout the article.

Relax, we won't have another Messi or Ronaldo for quite some time.

Dybala should be criticized, analyzed, discussed.. whatever.. But this kind of sensational "journalism" is just laughable.

@ Sam

Good point. I wonder if an article like this will be written about Insigne for example. Someone who carries the #10 shirt in the Azzurri and yet has one of the worst conversion rates in Europe, selfish and wastes way too many chances. But he is above criticism.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 1:52pm
"it was individual errors, a facet Allegri can’t control"

Oh give me a freaking break..

He made the choice to play De Sciglio instead of Lichtsteiner.
He made the choice to play the slow Barzagli instead of Rugani.
He made the choice to ignore Marchisio.
He chose the tactics.

Allegri is the one to be blamed the most, then the players.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 1:46pm
Juve's problem isn't Dybala, and if they can't build a team around him, then who?

If they do keep him, then what they need is 3 or 4 high-quality younger players plus a few more.

Signings like Matuidi and MDS are squad men, not CL-winning players.

M-Savic and Icardi would cost 200m, but they could do well at Juve. Can and Meyer are on Bosmans. They also need a CB and a RB.

Probably time to sell off Cuadrado, Khedira, Sturaro and maybe Higuain before he loses all value.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 1:28pm
Can’t believe Marchisio didn’t start...dont get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Bentancur but last night was not the right time for him...And I can’t believe this blog is blaming our best player?!!! Only one person to blame for last nights disaster... ALLEGRI!!!!!!! Over run in the mid field (again) and tactics all wrong. Juventus need a complete revamp this summer...even in management. Too negative and one dimensional.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 12:39pm
I have a had like an Orange, and despite its sweet fruity contents it was plain to me that Allegri fielded five midfielders last night. In the attacking phase, Juve had a 4231 formation. In the defensive phase Juve switched to 451. The game was lost via individual errors in defense and ruthless finishing, not poor tactics or anything else. Juve dominated the play for an hour, found themselves 2-0 down with ten men. What were those things in Gremlins called???
on the 4th April, 2018 at 12:38pm
Yes, it was Dybala's fault Juve let in 3 goals. Come on be serious. The problem for Juve was abysmal defending and an overreliance on Barzagli, not the attack. Dybala had a good game. The big issue was giving away the early goal and thereafter chasing the game.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 12:11pm
Comparing Dybala to anyone else is unfair. Messi & Ronaldo are so far above that few can see them. Dybala needs time to be his own man & mature at his own rate. I do fear that thus far (with the exception of last years game v Barca) he has yet to be able to find that extra gear in big games. I think he will get it, but he is hampered because on the big International stage he gets bench time since he plays the same position as Lionel. I hope that killer instinct & extra gear come in a Juve jersey
on the 4th April, 2018 at 11:48am
If he were Italian would this article have been made? Curious, because Totti and Del Piero have had games of absolute horror..

and i've never heard channel 4 take a swipe at them like they have with dybala.

I do recall legendary articles such as ''Magnificant Gagliardini''...

Dybala is 23 and a fantastic player who is world class.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 11:28am
I wasn't disappointed by the fact that he didn't score, but I was really upset by his attitude! He allowed his temper to get the better of him and it was really a matter of time before he was sent off. I really hoped Allegri would address him at half time and tell him to calm down!
on the 4th April, 2018 at 10:56am
Real knew that Juve's only threat came from Dybala & Costa who were left with a mountain to climb every time they got the ball. The midfield is clearly not strong enough to support the attack the way that Real do. Allegri like the final again got his tactics horribly wrong playing 2 central midfielders against possibly the best midfield in Europe. He is no Ronaldo or Messi but put Dybala in Real's team or with the Juve midfield of 2015 and you would see the difference. It attracts foxes.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 10:51am
I have no idea how Dybala is being the victim for this embarrassment where in reality it should Mister Allegri. Zizou fielded the same XL as Cardiff, with Casemiro, Kroos, Modric and Isco; 4 top central midfilders. What did Allegri do game? Started Khedira and Pjanic, only 2 mids to compete against possibly the best midfield in the world. What'd he do last night!? Started Khedira and Bentancur. How in the world do you see Bentancur and Khedira compete against that midfield with no Matuidi!??
on the 4th April, 2018 at 10:38am
yes it is the 24 year old player fault that juve lost to real not the rest of team or the senior players no it dybala fault for not being good as ronaldo. I don't even like juve i find this absurd i hate to say it but dybala is the outstanding prospect in serie a it would be crazy for juve to discard him based on this kind of logic. Beside the point i would question whether even barca or real at their zenith was completely based around messi or ronaldo .
on the 4th April, 2018 at 10:15am
it's very clear that this Juve is not built for gaining glory in Europe They are head and shoulder above anybody else in Italy, but playing in Europe i needs something more. Some said Juve is more mature and balanced this year. No, they're not. They struggled against Tottenham and only rode their luck. They struggled in group stage. You can play bad in Italy and still won, but even when you play well in Europe it may not be enough because teams like Real, Barca punish your errors.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 9:52am
You lost me (and probably most people) when you said "it must be argued that he (Max Allegri) got his choices right"

Madrid were in second gear all night. Every time they came forward they overran Juve's midfield and looked capable of scoring. 433 was the obvious choice but instead Allegri went up against Madrids 4 man centre-ish midfield with just two - one of whom is a youngster with little experience.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 9:49am
What do you expect when he is surrounded by mediocre. Aside from Dybala and Costa, the rest of our attacking units are not strong. No one had learnt the lesson from the final. The midfield was worst than before, and the defence with old man Barzagli taking on Cristiano Ronaldo. Somebody needs to tell Barzagli to learn his place. Its time to retire! No Benatia then where is Rugani? No Pjanic then where is Marchisio?
on the 4th April, 2018 at 9:44am
I think we should just stop comparing the guy and let him grow on the side, and let him be him, not Messi or Ronaldo
on the 4th April, 2018 at 9:44am
"It capped off a poor, at times even cringe-worthy performance"? Which game did you watch? Dybala was lively, moved the ball well and was a consistent threat that Real were very aware of, hence their persistent fouling. Simulation aside, the red card was harsh. Overall his performance was good, as he imposed himself on the game and was everywhere. Stop talking rubbish.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 9:35am
Miralem Pjanic is overrated, he gives it away a lot. Juve have no choice but to build around Dybala, as he is the best they have, players do not want to come to Italy, so he is good, hes not a great, he is not Messi or Ronaldo, but who is, they are a cut above, its comparing Boris Johnson and Martin Luther King, pointless. We know Dybala is not a great, he is a decent player, on his day he does wonderful things.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 9:15am
Holy hell one bad game from Dybala and you make statements like this...
Are you seriously so desperate for clicks?
Nobody in their right mind can be so ignorant as this author.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 9:04am
Dybala is too slow and can only play when given space by opposing defenders. Real madrid pressure opposition and therefore Dybala has no chance. He is starting to resemble Giovinco these days...
on the 4th April, 2018 at 8:59am
he isn't a super star but a very good player. but lets be honest messi and Ronaldo are once in a lifetime talents. closest to that is Neymar. after that you have the hazards, agueros, dybala, greizmans etc. juve once had a great midfield in vidal, pogba. but right now it is far from that. that is the area juve needs to fix. erikson, SMS, emre can, verratti is all players juve should be looking
on the 4th April, 2018 at 8:39am

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