Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini believes that Paulo Dybala can step up and be the centrepiece of Massimiliano Allegri’s side now that Cristiano Ronaldo has left the club.
Ronaldo rejoined Manchester United on deadline day in £17m move from the Turin club having spent three seasons at the Juventus Stadium, during which time he scored 101 goals in 134 appearances, clinched two Scudetti and won last campaign’s Capocannoniere for top Serie A scorer.
His spell at Juve, although highly successful given his scoring return, often saw him overshadow some of the club’s other big performers and key players, including Dybala, who hasn’t really kicked on since Allegri’s first stint in the Juve hotseat.
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During Ronaldo’s time at Juve, Dybala netted just 20 Serie A goals in three seasons, a huge drop off from the 52 he netted in the three seasons prior to the Portuguese’s arrival, and Chiellini believes the Argentinian can now rediscover that form with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner no longer at the club.
Chiellini told DAZN: “When you have a world-class player like Cristiano, you cannot help but use the team to play for him.
“We must be grateful to Cristiano for all he did during these years at Juventus, but we carry on.
“This will be Paulo Dybala’s team. Over the last couple of years, he lowered his average goals because of Cristiano’s presence, but he is a key player for this team and that is recognised by everyone.”
Juve have so far struggled to cope post-Ronaldo, with The Old Lady currently caught in the riptide of a three-game winless run in Serie A, with their most recent defeat to Napoli causing major concern in Turin, but Chiellini has been quick to play down talks of an early-season crisis.
“The team was united throughout the game, so we should be satisfied and proud with what we saw, with all things considered,” Chiellini said after the Napoli loss.
“We deserved to get a result here, but all we can do now is work more and talk less. We knew there would be difficulties this season, although not perhaps that we’d be in this position after three games.
“Just that we need to work and become a team. Nonetheless, I feel we deserved at least a draw today, but we’ve been through certain situations before. We’ll slowly get back up there.”