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GOAT HERDER

From Lionel Messi’s natural heir to Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow

Paulo Dybala is fading into darkness at Juventus as Ronaldo takes centre stage

Very few players have had the privilege of lining up alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

But the pleasure, arguably, might be lost on Paulo Dybala.

Stylistically the closest player to Messi around, their similarities have held him back at international level as both players tend to occupy the same positions.

Master and apprentice

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Master and apprentice

So from one GOAT to another, with an identical tale now happening at club level.

Dybala was the undisputed main man at Juventus last season, but that was always likely to change when a certain Portuguese international swapped Madrid for Turin last summer.

Ronaldo has hit the ground running in Italy, with more goals and assists than any other Juventus player and sitting, unsurprisingly, fairly pretty at the top of the Serie A scoring charts.

Chinese whispers

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Chinese whispers

But his arrival has ushered Dybala into the background.

The diminutive Argentine has scored just twice domestically all season, while creatively he’s fallen short too with only four assists.

He has even been dropped of late, seeing just three minutes of action in the draw with Parma last weekend.

Glum

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Glum

Some Juve voices are going as far as labelling it a ‘crisis’.

The problem lies with the long term vision.

Many see Dybala as the poster boy for the future, but the flag bearer of the present is casting doubt over that.

Still not listening

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Still not listening

Ronaldo is flying right now but, despite him defying age laws, his powers will inevitably wane sooner rather than later.

The 25-year-old won’t have a short list of potential suitors, with Chelsea the latest to be linked as a replacement for the seemingly Real Madrid-bound Eden Hazard.

But he’s struggling to define himself in a defining stage of his career.

Stick or twist?

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Stick or twist?

Many have been branded ‘the next Messi’ and have faded into obscurity under the burden of expectation.

Dybala, the closest mimic there is to his Argentine compatriot, has a decision to make to ensure he doesn’t follow in their footsteps.


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