90min
Juventus

Max Allegri's return to Juventus could signal the new dawning of Paulo Dybala

Max Parsons
Paulo Dybala was excellent against Udinese
Paulo Dybala was excellent against Udinese / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
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The overriding emotions from Juventus' opening day fixture at Udinese on Sunday evening will be disbelief and frustration, having seen two goalkeeping calamities throw away a two-goal cushion at half time to draw 2-2.

However, for all the negatives that will be taken away from that match, there will be one man feeling especially encouraged and joyful about his individual performance.

Recent times haven't been too kind on Paulo Dybala. The player that arrived at Juventus in 2015 and looked to be unlocking the glorious potential within has somewhat faded in previous seasons, often mirroring the drop in intensity that has infected the club since Max Allegri's departure in 2019.

After suffering a torrid time with injuries, the Argentine finished the 2020/21 campaign with four goals and three assists in 24 Serie A appearances as Juventus played out their worst season in a decade - simply not the player he can be.

But with Allegri's return to the Bianconeri dugout this term, it looks as though the forward's fortunes could be changing. The Juve boss, who brought the now-27-year-old to the club from Palermo and saw him thrive in the years following his arrival, is back and already getting a tune out of Dybala.

Paulo Dybala
Paulo Dybala was excellent against Udinese / Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

That was abundantly clear during the Old Lady's disappointing matchday one fixture on Sunday.

Dybala was untouchable, free-flowing, elegantly aggressive and quite simply talismanic throughout his side's 2-2 draw as he donned the captain's armband.

Having been set out on the left wing, it became immediately obvious that Allegri had sent him out without any shackles. His movement was elusive and untraceable as he popped up all over the field to put his influence on proceedings.

And it didn't take long to announce himself. Within three minutes, he demonstrated his natural intelligence by making a late surge into the box, latching onto Rodrigo Bentancur's cut back and nonchalantly flicking the ball into the far corner before wheeling away in celebration.

It was the finish of someone full of confidence - something that has been missing from the Argentine's game for some time but has visibly returned with the reintroduction of Allegri and the Italian's trust in his little magician.

20 minutes later, his afternoon got even better. Collecting the ball after Juventus' two colossal centre backs had sustained Udinese's pressure, Dybala set the Old Lady on the counter attack by, firstly seeing, and then executing a sensational cross field pass into the path of Juan Cuadrado, before the Colombian clinically finished off the sweeping move.

They were two moments that summed up his evening. Like Lionel Messi has been to Barcelona over the past couple of seasons, he was utterly central to all of his side's forward moves and was the architect and orchestrator that dictated all that was beautiful in I Binaconeri's performance.

While the final result was an infuriating one, Juventus fans will have been ecstatic and relieved to see their side's intensity and thrust back. It was a gutful and driven performance led by the staggeringly good Dybala - a sign that this season could be the rebirth of the world class player we all know he can be.

His potential may have looked to be fading away in recent years, but there is no doubt that Allegri's return to the Allianz Stadium can unlock a new dawning in the Argentine's career.

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