If you ask any football fan to name five of the genuine wonderkids playing right now, Paulo Dybala is almost certain to be mentioned.
The Argentine forward has the world at his exceptionally talented feet and has continuing to progress from strength to strength in the nurturing surrounds of Juventus.
Dybala joined The Old Lady from Palermo in June 2015 for roughly £23 million – and the Serie A champions knew exactly what they were getting for spending that kind of money on a 21-year-old.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250-word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay5
Article continues below
A nimble, composed striker with superb technique, Dybala has proven he has the potential to go on and become one of the leading players in world football.
However, as per Goal, the road to where he is now has not always been an easy one.
Article continues below
For all his technical qualities, Dybala is hardly a player one would associate with being particularly strong in terms of brute strength.
Players of this nature often fail to make the cut at the highest level if they fail to work around their weakness – something the Juventus has achieved thanks to a helping hand from former colleague Gennaro Gattuso.
The pair worked together at Palermo for a brief period when Dybala was just 19-years-old and the veteran Italian was 16 years his senior, acting as a manager.
Gattuso brought the tenacity and aggression of his playing style to the touchline, and would often join in training sessions like any other player, targeting Dybala in a bid to toughen him up.
Dybala recalled to El Pais: ”Gattuso helped me a great deal because he was one of the guys who would kick me.
"He used to give me advice on how I had to position myself to dodge the blows. In more than one practice he would kick me just to teach me how to defend myself.
"The physical work was hard for me. Clashing with opponents was the hardest thing, I had to work a lot in the gym, as well as learning how to avoid the hits and collisions. I wasn't used to it.”
While Gattuso only lasted six games into his first league season in charge before facing the axe, it is clear made a profound impact on shaping Dybala as a player.
Now managing Pisa in Serie B, the former Italy midfielder has a while to go before establishing his credentials as a world-class tactician.
But for now, at least he can hang his hat on helping one of the top young footballers in the game further his career.