KEY POINTS

  • Italian legend Franco Causio thinks Juventus star Paulo Dybala can win games alone
  • Causio believes that Cristiano Ronaldo and Dybala team-up could be scary
  • Juve coach Andrea Pirlo reveals his plans for Ronaldo's return

World Cup winner and Juventus legend Franco Causio thinks that Paulo Dybala is strong enough to lead the Old Lady to victory despite the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo.

In an exclusive interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy’s legendary winger praised Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo for including the 26-year-old in the starting line-up against Verona as Ronaldo remains out of commission due to COVID-19.

 “[Paulo] Dybala is very strong, he can win games alone,” Causio said. “I never had doubts about him, I’m happy to see him starting.”

“Paulo is on another level, he knows how to win games like few others,” he continued. “There have been a lot of talks about his game time, but he had physical issues. This time Pirlo will start him, it means he is well and is 100 percent recovered.”

While Causio is convinced that Dybala is an all-around player who can do an array of spectacular things with his “left foot,” he concluded that along with Ronaldo, Juventus could be a “scary” team.

Juventus forward Paulo Dybala said he has tested positive for coronavirus but was 'perfectly fine' Juventus forward Paulo Dybala said he has tested positive for coronavirus but was 'perfectly fine' Photo: AFP / Isabella BONOTTO

However, Juve is already feeling the void left by Ronaldo as they failed to defeat Verona on Sunday. The reigning Seria A champion settled with a 1-1 draw, but Pirlo admitted that the club could’ve done much better.

For Pirlo, his squad didn’t play aggressive in the first half and allowed Verona to dictate the pace. Though they managed to bounce back in the second half, the coach acknowledged the fact that the opposing brigade was a tough squad to beat.

"We reacted well after they took the lead, but we shouldn't need a slap in the face to wake up and play with intensity,” Pirlo told reporters after the match. “When you play against Verona or Atalanta, it's difficult because they take you one-on-one all over the field and create many duels."

"We worked to avoid their high press and that worked better in the second half,” he added. “It's tough against them, but we could've done better."

As for Ronaldo, Pirlo revealed that his front-three attacking force will be completed once the five-time Ballon d’Or winner returns.

Along with Dybala and Alvaro Morata, the coach is looking to play Ronaldo in his best position.

"We are thinking to play them [Ronaldo, Dybala and Morata] as a front-three," the coach disclosed. "With Ronaldo in his classic center-left position.”

One's a crowd: the stands were empty but Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo drew a TV audience of more than 8 million when they returned to action in the Italian cup One's a crowd: the stands were empty but Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo drew a TV audience of more than 8 million when they returned to action in the Italian cup Photo: AFP / Miguel MEDINA