Barcelona : Diminutive, dynamic and armed with a deadly left foot, Paulo Dybala could be a prototype of a Lionel Messi clone.
The similarities between the two Argentines, who face off in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg between Juventus and Barcelona, have been noted by Dybala’s strike partner Gonzalo Higuain among others.
The fact that Argentina now looks for the next Messi rather than the next Diego Maradona is as good a testament to the five-time world player of the year’s achievements as any.
Hundreds of talented number 10s were christened as Maradona’s heir before Messi turned even the “Hand of God” into distant memory.
“Messi is the best, he shows it every day,” said Higuain, who joined Juventus in a fractious transfer from Napoli for 90 million euros ($96 million) at the start of the season and has played alongside Messi for most of his 68 Argentina caps.
“Paulo is still young. He is 23 and has the world at his feet,” he told Premium Sport.
The younger man won the battle in the first leg last week with a quickfire first-half double as Juventus claimed a commanding 3-0 lead.
However to win the war, the Italian champions must resist for 90 minutes at the Camp Nou to prevent another famous Barcelona comeback.
The Catalans overcame a record 4-0 first-leg deficit by beating Paris Saint-Germain 6-1 in the second leg at home in the last 16.