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    Paulo Dybala has fallen down the pecking order at Juventus – could he finally be on his way out?

    Paulo Dybala’s has fallen down the pecking order under Andrea Pirlo, who is happy to pair Cristiano Ronaldo with his new young guns… could the Argentine FINALLY leave Juventus as contract talks stall yet again?

    • Paulo Dybala has not played for Juventus this term as his fitness woes continue 
    • He suffered a muscle problem in August and recently picked up stomach bug
    • New contract talks with Juventus have come to a halt and the club could sell 
    • Boss Andrea Pirlo has other options and has been impressed by Dejan Kulusevski
    • Cristiano Ronaldo enjoys playing with the Swede after developing a partnership 
    • Ronaldo tests positive for coronavirus while on international duty with Portugal

    The last time Paulo Dybala played for Juventus was back in August, when he pulled up with a muscle injury in a Champions League clash against Lyon.  

    The Argentine had only been on as a substitute for 13 minutes in the second-leg knockout tie in Turin before former manager Maurizio Sarri was forced to withdraw him. His return to the team was delayed by new boss Andrea Pirlo – keen not to rush him back too quickly – before he was struck down with gastroenteritis this week.

    It scuppered his hopes of joining the Argentina squad and came as the latest set-back for last season’s Serie A MVP, who tested positive for coronavirus earlier this year. But Pirlo has been able to manage without him after finding his new diamond in the rough – Dejan Kulusevski. 

    Paulo Dybala hasn’t played for Juventus this season and has moved out of the picture in Turin

    New boss Andrea Pirlo has managed without him after calling on younger attacking talent

    New boss Andrea Pirlo has managed without him after calling on younger attacking talent 

    The Swedish winger has played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo for the last two games against Sampdoria and Roma.

    In just his second start for the club against Sampdoria, Kulusevski caught the eye as he hit the back of the net, with Ronaldo providing the assist and giving Pirlo no choice but to start him in the following game against Roma.  

    ‘He is intelligent and can play anywhere because he knows where he has to go to position himself,’ he said before the match in the Italian capital.

    Ronaldo has also paid many compliments to the 20-year-old after his recent performances – making it clear he is now very happy with his new attacking partner. 

    Cristiano Ronaldo smiles while watching his team-mates train on Tuesday evening having been placed in isolation after testing positive for coronavirus

    Cristiano Ronaldo smiles while watching his team-mates train on Tuesday evening having been placed in isolation after testing positive for coronavirus 

    Ronaldo posed with his Portugal team-mates on Monday before testing positive for COVID-19

    Ronaldo posed with his Portugal team-mates on Monday before testing positive for COVID-19

    Dejan Kulusevski (L) has partnered Cristiano Ronaldo (R), who enjoys playing with the Swede

    Dejan Kulusevski (L) has partnered Cristiano Ronaldo (R), who enjoys playing with the Swede

    Of course there is now a spanner in the works – Ronaldo’s positive coronavirus test. The superstar is now a doubt for at least Juventus’ game against Crotone on Saturday, which would have given Dybala hope of starting the game. However his exit from the Argentina squad with illness this week means he’s back to square for now.  

    Pirlo has no doubts about the importance of Dybala but his fitness issues are starting to become a problem after failing to make an appearance this season. The 25-year-old has a contract until 2022 but negotiations to extend his deal have slowed down.

    Dybala’s continued struggles with gastroenteritis mean he is unlikely to be available for Saturday’s trip to Crotone, and he could be further pushed down the pecking order with new arrival Alvaro Morata set to be given a chance in his place.    

    Juventus are not in a weak financial position despite the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but Dybala has a market value of £72million (€80m) – a figure which would significantly boost the club. 

    Dybala has faced a constant battle to fight for his position alongside Ronaldo in the line-up

    Dybala has faced a constant battle to fight for his position alongside Ronaldo in the line-up

    Juventus are not in a weak financial position but are willing to sell Dybala as contract talks stall

    Juventus are not in a weak financial position but are willing to sell Dybala as contract talks stall

    The club feel the significant transfer fee, coupled with the re-opening of their stadium and the club museum, can help put them in a much stronger position. 

    Dybala is one of the most highly-regarded players in world football.

    He famously came close to joining Tottenham in 2019 before the deal fell apart at the last moment. Manchester United have also been mentioned as suitors in the past and in truth he would not be short of options if he were to hit the market. 

    In the last three years he has had to compete with a number of players for a place in the starting line-up next to Ronaldo. Now Juventus have just signed two young guns in his position who want to conquer the world – Kulusevski and Federico Chiesa from Fiorentina. Things are looking complicated for Dybala. 

    Tottenham came close to pulling off a coup to land Dybala under Mauricio Pochettino in 2019

    Tottenham came close to pulling off a coup to land Dybala under Mauricio Pochettino in 2019

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