Alessandro Del Piero believes this could be the year that Paulo Dybala becomes a superstar on the Champions League stage as Juventus prepare for a quarter-final first-leg showdown with Real Madrid on Tuesday.
Del Piero’s heir to the Bianconeri No.10 shirt has made a strong comeback from injury of late, netting crucial goals in the Serie A showdown with Lazio last month and in the Champions League at Wembley to eliminate Tottenham Hotspur.
Having scored the goals to knock out Barcelona last season, Del Piero is backing the Argentine to be the difference maker against Real Madrid in the quarter-finals.
“Every year he’s moving up a level,” Del Piero told Goal in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, in his role as ambassador for the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour Presented by Heineken. “He showed a lot in these two games [against Lazio and Spurs]."
"He’s a very good guy and an incredible talent. We don’t need to mention his quality. What I saw every year is that he’s growing. Maybe this year is the year for him.”
Dybala has endured a stop-start 2018 due to a hamstring injury that kept him out of a string of league games as well as the last 16 first leg against Spurs. Del Piero though is hopeful that he can end the campaign in strong form starting on Tuesday.
“This year he made an incredible start,” said the 1996 Champions League winner. “He was scoring a couple of goals a game, he was playing so well and he drove Juve in the first period that was very tough for the club.
“Then came the injury but then he came back with this goal [against Spurs]. In the same week he scored in Rome against Lazio so Juve had the opportunity to go ahead of Napoli.
“It will be very interesting to understand how the this season will end for him.”
Juventus fought back from the clutches of elimination against Spurs at Wembley and Del Piero believes that it is in the key moments that traditional European giants like Juve and Real Madrid show their strengths.
“History is important,” he said. “How you build a season is important and then there’s magic situations like this.
“Let’s take Real Madrid, they don’t play well this year, fourth in the table in the league but they are so comfortable in this competition. They usually win against everyone and on the other side is Juve.
“The moment they have to win, they win. This is very important because the game in London against Tottenham was very tough, especially after the first leg. And they found a way to turn the game to get the qualification.”
Alessandro Del Piero is an ambassador for the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour Presented by Heineken®. I n 2018 the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour Presented by Heineken® will visit six markets across four different continents providing fans outside of Europe with the opportunity to experience a sense of the film like drama of the events.