Lionel Messi is almost reaching the twilight of his career and one thing he hasn’t been able to get his hands on is an international trophy. He managed to guide his troops to the World Cup Final in 2014 but Argentina faltered at the final moment. But this year’s Copa America could be a different ball game for Argentina.
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) July 13, 2014
When it comes to winning the biggest football festival in South America, Argentina has disappointed their fans there too. They could only be satisfied with the runners-up medal in 2015 and 2016 losing to Chile on penalties on both occasions.
And the last outing for the men in White and Blue wasn’t of any significance. Lionel Messi and Argentina finished 3rd and had to go home with a bronze medal.
La Albiceleste has always been a factory of strikers. Be it the legendary Diego Maradona or the best player of our generation Lionel Messi, Argentina has rarely disappointed when it comes to strikers.
And if they want to give the best farewell to La Pulga they’ll have to help him to win silverware this summer. Lionel Scaloni would be spoilt for choices at the Copa America but one player who could be in the limelight is 27-year-old winger Paulo Dybala.
— Argentina Football Media (Eng) (@ARG_soccernews) March 17, 2020
The Argentine and Juventus winger made his debut for La Albiceleste in 2015. Considered a proper heir to Lionel Messi with a vicious left-foot, Dybala could be the player to look out for in the 102nd edition of Copa America.
ALREADY A LEGEND IN ITALY?
Dybala has turned out to be pivotal for Juventus since he joined the club in 2015. The Argentine has the knack of scoring majestic goals for his club. Playing his first match in the Supercoppa Italiana the Argentine managed to net a goal on his debut against Lazio. And since then he hasn’t looked back. Taking one step at a time his growth at Juventus has been nothing short of fantastic.
He isn’t shy of taking extra responsibilities on the field and rarely possesses any weakness. The man who is nicknamed The ‘Jewel’ has surely been able to justify his name throughout his time with the Old Ladies. He wasn’t a part of Andrea Pirlo’s plans for a fair share of the season and the season has been a real letdown for the Italian side.
100 – Paulo #Dybala has become the first non European player to have scored 100+ goals in all competitions for Juventus (excluding those who have played for Italy). Joya.#SassuoloJuve #SerieA pic.twitter.com/akd3jmQz40
— OptaPaolo 🏆 (@OptaPaolo) May 12, 2021
A team that has the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Morata up the field sometimes still needs Dybala to hold the ball on the edge of the box. He can produce magical skills whenever the ball comes to his feet. Not to forget that the Argentine can win one-on-ones without any troubles. In his little appearances in the Serie-A this season, the Argentine made sure that he didn’t leave the pitch without dribbling at least 2 opponents.
In his 7 seasons at the club, he has racked up a hundred goals in Italy, and not to forget that he was the favourable striker until Ronaldo walked in. But even with Ronaldo’s presence, Dybala’s attendance is important as he plays both the role of a striker and a supporting striker quite effectively. Though he managed to be on the team sheet only 24 times this season he didn’t leave without netting a few important goals for Pirlo’s troops.
THE TIME HAS COME
It’s almost criminal to imagine an Argentina squad without veteran Lionel Messi. But the question that arises is will Dybala be given an opportunity to play in Copa America knowing the fact that he is an exact reflection of Messi? But since Argentina is hosting this year’s Copa America and Messi is about to hang his boots sooner than later, coach Scaloni he’ll have to bring all his weapons to the battle.
Not to forget, Messi has found peace with playing as a play-maker for his team and not as a proper striker. Although the legendary left-footed man has 30 goals for Barcelona, Messi has mostly started as a midfielder for the Catalans.
And this could mean Dybala could take the striker’s role alongside one of Aguero or Martinez. Not to forget that The ‘Jewel’ has an unbelievable vision and is one of the greatest strikers of the ball in world football at the moment.
A benchwarmer for Juventus and Argentina lately, Dybala could turn things around for himself in this year’s Copa America. Though he has just scored 2 goals in his 29 appearances for his international squad, he’ll surely look to add to his tally this summer.
One thing that the Juventus star would be satisfied with is that he’s a mirror image of Messi. And with retirement looming large on Messi’s mind, Dybala could find his spot straight into the eleven.
The 27-year-old has been patient and has waited for his opportunity and would love to greet it with both hands when it comes knocking.
WHO WILL BE SCALONI’S CHOICE?
The real question out here is will Dybala play for La Albiceleste? If the ‘Jewel’ is given opportunities by his manager, he’ll be a perfect synonym of greatness in Copa America. All the Argentinian fans would be hoping that Dybala gets a game or two to showcase his talent and put up a strong case for himself.
— Paulo Dybala (@PauDybala_JR) August 4, 2020
His 5 goals for Juventus this season hides the fact that he has a century of goals for the Old Lady. Whatever Scaloni’s choice is, Argentina’s fans would be hoping that they get to see his trademark celebration more and more in his national jersey.