Player Profile - Paulo Dybala

Juve’s Argentine Maestro 

Personal information
Full name: Paulo Bruno Exequiel Dybala 
Date of birth: 15 November 1993 
Age: 22
Place of birth: Laguna Larga, Cordoba, Argentina
Height: 1.76 m (5 ft 9 1⁄2 in) 
Playing position: Forward

Club information
Current team: Juventus
Number: 21

Youth career
2003–2011: Instituto

Senior career
2011–2012: Instituto 38 Appearances, 17 goals 
2012–2015 Palermo 93 Appearances, 21 goals
2015– Juventus 37 Appearances, 17 goals 

National career
2015– Argentina 3 Appearances, 0 goals   

Leading the side with 13 goals, Paulo Dybala has also weighed in with a couple assists of his own, quickly establishing himself as an indispensable member of the team following his summer move from Palermo. According to their official website, Juventus paid €32 million—with a further €8 million in potential bonuses—for the Argentinian striker, and he has already begun to repay that investment. 

Dybala’s impact has been even more impressive when considering he has done so while learning to play a new role. Constantly involved in the action as he has been all year; the 22-year-old making a series of telling contributions throughout the campaign. That is a frightening prospect for the rest of Serie A, with Dybala clearly already an important figure for the reigning champions. Billed as a striker on his arrival, Dybala is showing himself to be something more nuanced and sophisticated – a player who loves to drop deep to gather possession and help construct attacks as well as finish them. He is not quite a No. 10 and not a false nine either, but instead bears comparison in his approach to the man who came before him at Juventus, Carlos Tevez. Not in a physical sense – Dybala is baby-faced and far slighter than his predecessor, even if Juventus’ athletic staff will attest that he has added 3kg of muscle since he arrived – but in their shared hunger for the ball, quick feet and readiness to run at a defence.

Dybala was hugely impressive last season, notching 13 goals and 10 assists in his first campaign as a regular in the Italian top flight, swiftly prompting Juventus to secure his signature soon after 2014/15 came to an end. First of all, the most obvious point is his age. The 21-year-old has huge potential, and given that transfer fees continue to skyrocket, getting him this early undoubtedly ensures the grand Old Lady has paid the best possible price.  With his tender age comes the ability to improve and realise just how good he can become, and reflecting on his impressive year with Palermo offers some insight into that. Looking first at the variety of goals Dybala scored, any compilation of his finishing includes deft chips, well-executed volleys and thunderous efforts, all of which left opposing goalkeepers clutching at thin air and powerless to prevent him scoring. Yet what also becomes instantly apparent is that the source of each is exactly the same: Dybala’s magical left foot. 

A quick, creative, and agile player, with good technical ability, Dybala is known for his dribbling skills and close control in limited spaces, as well as his ability to protect and hold up the ball for team-mates with his back to goal. Due to his pace, positioning, and ball skills, he excels during counter-attacks, and at beating the offside trap when making attacking runs. A hardworking player, he is also known for his defensive contribution. Dybala is capable both of creating chances for teammates, as well as scoring goals himself, due to his vision and ability to play off of other players, as well as his powerful, and accurate ball striking ability; he is also effective at scoring with his head due to his acceleration and ability to anticipate defenders. A versatile forward, he is capable of playing in any offensive position. 

Clearly far from realising his vast potential, there is huge scope for Dybala to improve substantially over the course of his initial contract with the Turin giants, and he could one day blossom into the kind of talismanic star that is expected of him. His desire for improvement bode well for the future and indicates that, despite the huge transfer fee paid for him, Dybala is proving to be a huge steal for Juventus.