Wall Street Football

Ode to Joya

In the work written by Friedrich Schiller, the German poet intended to create an opera that expressed a concept of fraternity, dreaming about a society formed by men united by the bond of joy.

Ludwig van Beethoven subsequently took an extract from the poem to create one of his most famous works, the 9th symphony.

The latter became the European anthem and was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage in 2003.

As in Schiller’s and Beethovens’ operas, Paulo Dybala’s way of playing and expressing himself on the pitch, from the very beginning, has always bonded all people who love football and have also recognized him as a true heritage of this sport.

His uniqueness and purity make his talent unquestionable. Indeed, his nickname “Joya” actually means “diamond” in Argentinian, but also means joy and happiness in Italian: all statements that fit perfectly his style of playing.

However, talent in the world of football sometimes isn’t enough. In his career up to now, there have been many difficulties and have mainly come from two factors: physical conditions and expectations.

Because if it’s true that, in recent years, the ex-Juventus number 10 has had several physical issues of various kinds, but it is also true that being a left-footed Argentine striker automatically creates high expectations and uncomfortable comparisons.

Precisely, the last two seasons have been the most disappointing from a physical point of view, keeping the Argentinian striker a lot out of action on the pitch.
During the Season 2020/2021, he made a total of 14 absences due to injuries between Serie A and Champions League. The two most important matches were in the round of 16 of the Champions League against Porto that eliminated Juventus from competition.

This happened after his best season in Italy with the Juventus jersey, not in terms of goal-scoring (Season 2017/2018 with 22 goals), but under the guidance of Maurizio Sarri, for the Season 2019/2020 he was named the best player of the tournament with 11 goals and 11 assists in 33 appearances.

Dybala goals & assists – Seasons 2015/2022

The season just ended was his second worst in terms of injuries with 8 in the championship and 3 in the Champions League. The last one, even this time, in a match as important as the first leg of the round of 16 against Villareal. 

Although he managed to score 10 goals and 5 assists in 29 appearances, adding 3 goals and 1 assist in Champions League, with an average of 73 minutes played throughout the season.

Dybala WSF Performance Index – Season 2021/2022

He had an interesting WSF Performance Index of 6.4 on average and he also is among the top 10 forwards in Serie A for dribbles attempted (79) and dribbles completed (47). 

He is even in the top ten list of all players for shots and shots on goal, he shots with an average of 3.4 per game of which 1.3 on goal. 
Not many assists despite his technique and game vision, but 1.1 key passes per game and 84.4% of completed passes (with 36 attempted and 30 successful) that place him again in the top 10 of strikers.

Furthermore not only quality but also quantity at the service of the team considering the large number of duels attempted per match 8.6 of which 4.5 were won.

The general perception is basically of two kinds: he has not been put in the right conditions to fully express his talent or that he is perhaps unable to handle the pressures of being the technical leader of such an important team.

Surely comparisons with Messi and the legacy of a legend like Del Piero have not helped the young player who nevertheless arrived as a 22-year-old in the most successful team of the last 10 years in Italy and leaves with 115 goals and 48 assists in almost 300 presences. 

The contract has not been renewed, so the boy from Laguna Larga will be free to choose his new team. It seems that only the formalities are missing in the negotiations for the transfer to F.C. Internazionale, who are precisely looking for a talent like his.

Will this be the right way to shine again?

by Giorgio Patania, Elisa Zanchetta

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