“For me, it’s always better to keep chasing down the guy in front and maybe finish second, rather than stopping altogether.”
– Andrea Pirlo
Date of Birth: 15 November 1993 (age 23)
Jersey Number: 10
Position: Forward/ Attacking midfielder
Paulo Dybala had a very successful youth career. He made his professional debut in Primera B Nacional (Argentine second division) with his hometown club Instituto Atlético Central Córdoba, at the age of 17. He broke multiple records as a teenager: youngest goal scorer for his club, first to play 38 consecutive matches in a professional league, first to score two hat-tricks in a season, first to score in six consecutive games.
Dybala attracted new clubs with his impeccable performance in his early years. He eventually moved to U.S. Città di Palermo, where he was affectionately called the new Sergio Agüero. He made his debut for Palermo in a Serie A match against Lazio. Dybala continued to wow spectators as he scored 10 goals in the first half of the 2014-15 season, forming a successful striking partnership with Franco Vásquez. Dybala was named one of the top assist providers in the league with a total of 10 assists and 13 goals.
In 2015 Paulo Dybala moved to a new club, Juventus, on a five-year deal. He was given the number 21 jersey, previously worn by Italian legend Andrea Pirlo. In his first 16 appearances in the 2015-16 season, Dybala scored 6 goals and made 2 assists. He ended the season as Juventus’ top scorer with 23 goals in all competitions and 19 goals in Serie A, as his club won the Serie a title. When Paul Pogba moved to Manchester United, Dybala was given the most precious jersey number, 10. He did justice to the number by bagging a spot in the top 3 finalists for the Forward of the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League season award. Dybala’s statistics from the minute he started playing professional soccer have been off the charts!
Due to his family heritage, Dybala was eligible to play for Poland and Italy, but his heart was set on playing for Argentina. His career with the Argentinian national team has been very on and off. He was called to play for the under-17 and under-20 team when he was younger, but could not play for either of the teams. Fortunately, he has the opportunity to train and play with one of the best soccer players in the world- Lionel Messi- as Argentina fights to rescue their World Cup hopes.
According to me, two of the most important strengths that every striker must have are goal scoring abilities and speed. Dybala is known for his hardworking nature, stamina and dribbling skills. He can easily control the ball for long periods of time, with his back to the goal. His excellent speed makes him very effective during counter attacks. Dybala can not only score goals by himself, but also create chances for his teammates to score goals. He can score with his head, or with a powerful strike from inside and outside the box.
Dybala’s numerous skills make him a very versatile player. He has been placed in different positions: centre-forward, midfield, main striker and the outcome has been remarkable. I think that this young star has a long way ahead of him. Playing with experienced soccer players in the national team and in Juventus will teach him a few skills that will take his game to the next level.