It was Paulo Dybala’s 109th goal for Juventus and his tenth of the 2021/22 campaign. The finish was a characteristically casual one, but the sequence that followed was anything but trademark.
For so long, Juventini have adored the sight of the Dybalamask that succeeds an aesthetic curler from distance or [insert any other type of Dybala goal here, I’m struggling]. But this was different. The mask was kept under wraps as his celebration was notably subdued. Emotionless and seemingly lobotomized by the Juventus board, Dybala embraced teammates before glaring up into the stands with a gaze that painted the entire picture.
The stare, one laden with resentment, targeted the club’s on watching hierarchy. “Are you not entertained?” said Maximus Dybala without uttering a word. The awkward sequence told us everything you need to know about the Argentine’s situation at Juventus and he summated his feelings post-match.
“I have nothing to prove to anyone,” La Joya told DAZN Italy (via @JuveFC) in a seemingly direct response to club CEO Maurizio Arrivabene, who recently claimed that the club’s 11th all-time leading scorer, five-time Scudetti winner and one-time Serie A MVP “has to earn his place”. In what, Maurizio? This Juventus team?!
Like Michael Jordan when somebody told him his nose was running, Dybala took that personally.
And no, Paulo, we’re not buying your whole “I was looking for a friend” nonsense either. That wasn’t the warming, friendly gaze up into the stands towards a companion. It was one of contempt and bitterness.
Putting it candidly, the Argentine’s fed up. His current contract in Turin expires in the summer and after coming close to wrapping up a deal last Autumn, Juventus have stalled. They want to review their initial proposal with negotiations set to continue in February.
Now, while Dybala’s resentment is completely justified, there is some rationality to Juve’s hesitance. La Joya’s injury record is a concern and there is an undoubted element of risk to signing the player to a lucrative long-term extension considering his woes on the injury front over the past 12 months.
However, we’ve arrived at a point where Juve have no choice but to renew with their attacking superstar, no matter his frailty. Losing him on a free transfer in the summer would be disastrous from a financial and footballing perspective. While some have fears over Dybala’s tactical viability in an ever-evolving sport, his quality has been on full display this season with Massimiliano Allegri handing the free-spirited playmaker the licence to roam in his orderly and often dull attacking structure.
Dybala’s certainly depicted his value to Juventus since Allegri’s return and he’s right in suggesting that he has little to prove to those in power. There’s certainly a willingness on both sides to strike a deal that’ll keep La Joya on Juventus’ books, but such an agreement isn’t expected for quite some time.
The Argentine sent a message to the club’s hierarchy on Saturday night with their current relationship frosty at best. A resolution is imperative because the fear of losing Dybala for NOTHING in the summer is becoming a very real possibility.
Such a scenario would set Juve back considerably in their bid to rebuild.