Although football is considered to be a team sport, talented individuals still draw the attention of the fans and the media thanks to their ability as well as their game-by-game performances.
Juventus have started the 2017-18 season in emphatic fashion winning their opening four matches, and the clear standout for the Bianconeri so far is Argentine striker Paulo Dybala, who has scored a remarkable eight goals in those games including two hat-tricks. He is also leading the goalscoring charts in the league from Lazio’s Ciro Immobile by two goals in the early stages of the campaign.
After netting against Cagliari in the opening league fixture, the 23-year-old got his first hat-trick of the campaign in the 4-2 victory against Genoa in Week 2. Although the Grifone took a shock 2-0 lead in less than 10 minutes, the former Palermo striker turned the match around with two goals before half-time and then sealed the victory in the dying minutes of the game.
Dybala found the back of net again after coming on as a substitute in the 3-0 win against Chievo with a solo run and then he completed his second hat-trick in the 3-1 victory away to Sassuolo on Sunday. Arguably the best of the three was when he sealed his treble with a bending free-kick that also had a decent amount of power on it.
“La Joya” or The Jewel has emulated the tally achieved by AC Milan centre-forward Gunnar Nordahl in the 1950-51 campaign and only Antonio Valentin Angelillo achieved a better scoring ratio, finding the back of the net a phenomenal 11 times in the opening four rounds of the 1958-59 season.
Comparisons have been made with Alessandro Del Piero and Omar Sivori and although Dybala has a long way to go to achieve the legendary statuses they have, he does share similar technical characteristics with the duo.
The Argentine can bend the ball like “Pinturicchio” and he has speed like Del Piero had in the early stages of his career while “La Joya” dribbles like he has the ball glued to his feet and can wiggle through tight areas, which is similar to the style of “El Cabezon” (The Big Head) minus the party tricks.
Despite being a decisive player in his first two seasons at Juventus, Dybala has become more important than ever for the Bianconeri. Thirteen goals have been scored in Serie A by the Italian giants and the 23-year-old’s eight strikes make up about 62 per cent of their tally so far.
His influence in attack has increased too, especially because his compatriot Gonzalo Higuain has performed unimpressively and he is lacking in fitness and mobility. While spending €90 for “El Pipita” looks unjustified, acquiring “La Joya” from Palermo in 2015 for €32m plus bonuses has been a shrewd investment.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri does not have a distinctive style of play and his team relies on the individuals to produce results for the team, especially up forward.
With an average of two goals per game early in the season, Paulo Dybala looks like the jewel in the Bianconeri crown.