While all the headlines after Juventus’ 2-1 victory over Lazio were for Cristiano Ronaldo and his goalscoring exploits, the Bianconeri’s now inevitable push for a ninth straight Scudetto bears the name of one man above all else.
In what has been a strange year for the Argentine, it’s only fitting he was the best player in a match that he wasn’t even supposed to start in.
Gonzalo Higuain was picked ahead of Dybala by coach Maurizio Sarri, only for the latter to pull out due to a problem in warm ups.
Although Sarri stated the decision to drop Dybala was due to a slight back problem, he also made it clear that Higuain was a better fit tactically for the match against Lazio. An odd explanation given the latter undercuts the former.
It’s nothing new for the former Palermo forward as his season began under a cloud of confusion. Juventus did nothing to hide their desire to sell Dybala last summer, with moves to Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur falling through due to his reluctance to leave.
That defiant attitude has been on display for much of the season, and especially since the restart, as the Argentine has unquestionably been Juve’s best player.
It was on full display against Lazio as the away side had no answers when it came to stopping La Joya. His defiant attitude was also seen when Sarri called him off in the 89th minute, resulting in a stern stare down between the two.
Some colourful language was exchanged and likely forgotten at the sound of the final whistle, as having a short memory has been key in propelling Dybala to heights he hadn’t previously hit while in Turin.
His exploits for most of the season and especially on Monday have made it a question of when rather than if Juventus will bring home the Scudetto.
It could happen as soon as Thursday should results fall the Bianconeri’s way, and when it does, it should be remembered as the season Dybala cemented himself as a key cog in Turin rather than offseason transfer dump.