“He will become like Messi,” was the headline in the Corriere dello Sport just over a year ago after Paulo Dybala had orchestrated a resounding victory over Udinese and sent Juventus on course for their fifth consecutive Serie A title.
With a devilishly whipped free kick courtesy of his wand-like left foot, an emphatically struck penalty and a couple of assists it was easy to draw the comparisons.
A year later, Dybala shows no signs of letting up and Juve are now in pole position for a sixth-straight scudetto.
His seven goals and four assists are not staggering numbers but the effortless manner in which the 23-year-old drifts past defenders, his vision to slice open the opposition with a pass and his accurate left foot cause reason for genuine excitement among Argentina and Juventus supporters.
Dybala’s momentum has gradually been building after an initial slow start in Turin and there is now a clamour for Edgardo Bauza to unleash Argentina’s crown prince alongside King Messi.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are linked with mega-money moves as the football world sees the potential – since Kaka won the Ballon d’Or in 2007, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have sat unrivaled at the top of the tree but Dybala is a prime contender to eventually end that streak.