If anyone could empathise with how Paulo Dybala must have felt after being sent off on his first Argentina start last week, it’s Lionel Messi.
Back on 17 August 2005, the Barcelona star made his Argentina debut, coming on as a 63rd-minute substitute. Around 40 seconds later and the 18-year-old’s dream moment had turned into a nightmare.
Messi was shown a straight red card after being accused of intentionally elbowing Vilmos Vanczák and burst into tears once inside the dressing room.
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Dybala couldn’t wait until he got inside the Argentina dressing room before allowing his emotions to get the better of him.
The Juventus forward, one of the most exciting talents in world football, left the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas pitch in floods of tears after Chilean referee Julio Bascunan showed him a second yellow card on the stroke of half-time in the World Cup qualifier against Uruguay.
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Dybala: Now the whole world has seen me cry
Dybala has now conducted an interview with the Argentine national daily sports newspaper Ole - per Sport - in which he describes his emotions about his sending off and reveals what Messi said to him after the match.
Messi was visibly frustrated by Bascunan’s decision and had words with the match official as soon as the half-time whistle was blown.
"Now I am calm, but Thursday was bad,” Dybala admitted. "It was an ugly moment, because it was a special day and it didn't go how I hoped. I was left with a sensation in the chest that I've never had before.
"Or actually, once. With Instituto, when we could not go up in 2012. But this time it was stronger than me. Because I don't cry. At home nobody's seen me cry. And now the whole country has. And the world.”
Dybala reveals what Messi told him
The Cordoba-born forward added: ”Leo Messi told me to be calm, that these things happen, that it was not my fault but the referee's. I felt good, comfortable playing with Messi.
"We had spoken in training about how I was going to play, depending where Leo was positioned, I would change with him. If he was in the middle, I'd go wide. I'd never played with Messi. My dream was to do that, and I did.
"I enjoyed it until the referee sent me off. I tried to help because he is the leader of the team. It's incredible to play by his side."
Dybala has a very bright future ahead of him
Like Messi, Dybala’s red card is unlikely to have any bearing on his long-term future with the Argentina national team.
The 22-year-old, who scored 23 goals in 46 appearances for Juve last term, clearly has an admirer in the form of Argentina’s new head coach Edgardo Bauza.
And many of his peers, including his former teammate Paul Pogba, believe he possesses the talent to reach the very top of his profession.
“He can get there,” Pogba was quoted as telling La Stampa by the Daily Mail earlier this year when asked if Dybala can emulate Messi. “Do you know what I call him? Square R2, the button that you have to push on a PlayStation to do a shot on the turn -- he always gets goals like that.
“Has he surprised me? No, because I always said he was a phenomenon. To do what he has done, playing for Juve, is something phenomenal.”
Does Paulo Dybala has the potential to become one of the world’s great forwards? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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