Juventus chief coach Massimilano Allegri was effusive in his praise for Argentine playmaker Paulo Dybala, who he believes can challenge Brazilian star Neymar for the status of best footballer in the world in the future.
Dybala has scored seven goals in four games in the early part of the season. The 23-year-old has scored 49 goals in 98 games for Juventus since his arrival in the summer of 2015. In two seasons, he has won two Serie A titles and reached 2016-17 UEFA Champions League final.
This season, record Italian champions Juventus have given Dybala their coveted No.10 shirt — previously worn by the likes of Omar Sivori, Michel Platini, Roberto Baggio and Alessandro Del Piero.
And Allegri was pleased with the way Dybala is fitting into the team’s scheme of things.
“Paulo will become one of the best players in the world. He and Neymar are the future once (Lionel) Messi and (Cristiano) Ronaldo hang up their boots,” Allegri was quoted as saying by Juventus’s website on Saturday.
Argentine Messi and Portuguese Ronaldo have won nine FIFA World Player of the Year awards between them.
During their Serie A match against Chievo Verona on Saturday, Juventus shifted from their 4-2-3-1 formation to a 4-3-3 with Miralem Pjanic driving the midfield along with Stefano Sturaro and Blaise Matuidi, who got his first start.
Allegri said that any system works if the players put in their maximum effort.
“The playing system works as long as everyone is prepared to put in a shift both when attacking and defending,” he said.
Allegri’s 4-2-3-1 won several accolades last season but 1-4 loss to Real Madrid in Champions League final asked several questions.
Allegri also praised Bosnian midfielder Pjanic, who also made an assist for Gonzalo Higuain’s goal in the second half.
“When he plays the way he did today, when he finds the right space, he’s able to put his entire repertoire on display and the team benefits enormously,” he reflected.
“Defensively he reads the game well too: he makes interceptions and does a whole lot more.”
Allegri gave a debut start to summer signing, Brazilian winger Douglas Costa.
“Douglas Costa still needs to grasp how Italian football works and get used to defenders doubling up on him. He probably would have been devastating in the last half an hour today,” Allegri said of the Brazilian who is on loan from Bayern Munich.
After this match, Juventus will travel to Spain to take on FC Barcelona in their Champions League group stage opener on Tuesday.
“It’s a crucial tie in that it could end up determining who tops the group. It could go either way but we’ll have to secure qualification to the next round in the three games that come after Tuesday,” he said.