Following the abrupt departure of Cristiano Ronaldo last summer, it felt as if Juventus were experiencing an identity crisis. Questions were subsequently asked as to who could be that next superstar to replace the magnificent aura of the talismanic Portuguese. In a mood of desperation, the names of Federico Chiesa and Moise Kean were thrown into the fray. But when matters reached the field, Paulo Dybala thrived.
On Tuesday, Juventus celebrated Paulo Dybala’s 28th birthday. The baby-faced La Joya is now 28, and expectations on his tiny shoulders are more enormous than ever before — especially after Juventus’ abysmal start to the season.
The Bianconeri currently sit outside the top four in the Serie A points table with their Scudetto hopes seemingly gone already. But having Paulo Dybala on their side gives Juventini a glimmer of hope for the rest of 2021/22. La Joya seems to be one of the very few players, who have shown the urge to help the team in any means, shape or form this term.
The creative playmaker has been one of the finest players for the Bianconeri so far this season. His creative wings have just started growing wider, giving a soothing assurance to Juventini during these torrid times. With Dybala, it has been the story since the beginning — even if numbers don’t always follow the efforts, he is never tired of trying out different ways to unlock opposing defences.
That said, to commemorate the week of Dybala’s 28th birthday, Old Juve has picked up the diminutive craftsman’s top 5 moments in Bianconeri colours.
The decisive goal in 2015 Supercoppa Italiana
The year 2015 was special for Paulo Dybala. On his return to Serie A from Serie B with Palermo, the Argentine garnered 13 goals and ten assists in the 2014/15 campaign. In the following summer, he joined Juventus, earning the first big move of his professional career. Juve paid a transfer fee of €32m to secure the signing of the little magician. And now, that seems to be money well spent.
The Bianconeri locked horns with Lazio in Shanghai that summer. The prize was the coveted Supercoppa Italiana. It was a huge occasion for the team and more so for their new signing Dybala, who was poised to make his competitive debut in the black and white outfit.
With thousands of heads engulfing the seats of the Chinese stadium, the first half ended in a stalemate. Neither team had found the back of the net. In the second half, things took a swift turn. Another summer signing for Juventus, Mario Mandzukic, leapt the highest to head the ball into the net as the Bianconeri drew first blood.
Four minutes after the first goal, Dybala, who had come onto the field as a second-half substitute, was found by a cunning pass from Paul Pogba in the centre of the box. Without wasting a single moment, La Joya thrashed the ball venomously with his first touch. It was 2-0, and the game, with only 17 minutes left to play, was as good as finished.
In the end, Juventus kept the clean sheet and ended up hoisting the Supercoppa Italiana title. “What emotion! Scoring on my Juventus debut – for me, it’s unforgettable,” Dybala added after winning his first trophy with Juventus.