Paulo Dybala

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Messi sent off for first time in 14 years for… this?!?

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It was the rematch many wanted, just not in the appropriate venue.

Argentina and Chile met for placement in their third-straight Copa America, but this time it was for third place and not the final.

So, in an odd twist for a third-place game, the greatest player in the world was sent off for the first time in 14 years.

[ MORE: USMNT-Mexico preview ]

Tempestuous early and then firmly in Argentina’s hands at 2-0 after less than 22 minutes, the match hit a new flashpoint as Messi and Gary Medel were both sent off the pitch by referee Mario Diaz de Vivar after a perceived head-to-head incident between the Argentine captain and Chile’s hatchet man.

It was Messi’s first red since an Argentina friendly against Hungary on Aug. 17, 2005. He has never been sent off for Barcelona.

And are we being naive if we say the twin red cards were awarded for a whole lot of nothing? Astoundingly, VAR reportedly had a look at the fouls and said, “Yeah, sure. Keep it.” You be the judge:

 

Chile won as hosts in 2015 as well as in the United States-based 2016 Centenario, both after 0-0 results led to penalty kicks.

The 0-0 was eliminated early on Saturday, as Lionel Messi took a quick free kick to Sergio Aguero. The Man City man danced around the keeper to slot for 1-0.

This turn from Dybala, however is the real beauty. Spurs target Giovanni Lo Celso slid a pass between two defenders, and his Juventus receiver brought the ball in front of him with perfect touch.

Dybala’s brother: Paulo ‘needs a change’ from Juventus

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Paulo Dybala’s brother is either breaking news, or a really awful sibling.

Gustavo Dybala says his brother is ready to leave Juventus after the season, having become a lesser part of Max Allegri’s team since the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo.

[ MORE: Jovic to Real Madrid ]

Paulo Dybala, 25, scored 10 goals with six assists across all competitions this season, making 40 appearances and playing 2,640 minutes. He played 700 more minutes in 2017/18, scoring 16 more goals with two more assists.

“There are many possibilities that Paulo leaves Juventus. He needs a change,” Gustavo told Radio Impacto show Futbolemico. “Let’s say that Paulo is no longer at ease and happy, as many other Juventus players are no longer well. He is not the only one who will leave.”

Juventus continues to win scudetti like Serie A is a children’s game, though its UEFA Champions League failures are also becoming old hat.

With Ronaldo seizing the spotlight in the prime of Dybala’s career, he could head just about anywhere and the Premier League is certainly in consideration. Manchester United will be linked and Dybala could be the striker’s version of Juan Mata (It’s an odd comparison but let’s grab a drink and I’ll try to explain).

Pogba reportedly ready to leave Man Utd; But where would he go?

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Paul Pogba doesn’t intend to be at Manchester United for much longer, according to a report from L’Equipe.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s best player has reportedly told some teammates that he plans to leave the Old Trafford club this summer, three years removed from his spectacular return from Juventus.

[ MORE: Solskjaer, Pep trade jabs ]

Rumors of a connection with Real Madrid have persisted, and Pep Guardiola was asked earlier Tuesday about an offer extended the way of Man City (Guardiola vehemently denied it).

Perhaps United does want to move on from the 26-year-old. We’ll play along. Here are a few sensational moves that could make some sense for both player and United.

Real Madrid: Remember 2009? That’s when an aging Real Madrid lost La Liga to Barcelona by nine points, led in scoring by Raul (aged 32), Ruud van Nistelrooy (32), and Gonzalo Higuain (21). They turned to Manchester United for a splashy buy of Cristiano Ronaldo, assuming he had higher levels to reach in his career.

Equating Pogba to one of the greatest players of all-time is silly at this stage, but Real will make some massive splashes this summer (perhaps Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, and Pogba?). Imagine that trio combining with a healthy Vinicius Junior.

Real could part ways with Raphael Varane, who seems to want to taste the Premier League, and maybe Gareth Bale could also return to the league.

PSG: You though Alexis Sanchez for Henrikh Mkhitaryan was a sexy swap?The fun of such deals continues with one for the ages. Heading to Paris would be French World Cup hero Pogba. Going to United: former rumor mill darling Neymar. To borrow a phrase from Twitter trade prognosticators: Who says no?

Juventus: Given the way teams in Italy tend to extend stars vitality and careers, Pogba’s essentially a baby by their standards. Cristiano Ronaldo has committed to The Old Lady and the club’s fan base is essentially yawning at scudetti. Pogba could form an incredible midfield under Ronaldo, teaming with Miralem Pjanic and Emre Can. The challenge here is the sum of money Juve would have to unload for Pogba, presuming it doesn’t part ways with Paulo Dybala (though Moise Kean is ready for prime time).

Joint celebration shows growing Ronaldo, Dybala rapport

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MILAN (AP) The flourishing partnership between Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala has led to a joint celebration.

Dybala scored his first league goal since Nov. 3 in Juventus’ 3-0 Serie A win over Frosinone last Friday and celebrated by merging Ronaldo’s distinctive celebration – of jumping and turning in the air while letting out a yell – with his own mask gesture.

Ronaldo had combined their celebrations after scoring in the previous match.

Dybala later posted several pictures on social media of the two of them celebrating, with the caption: “Give a title to this album… (hashtag)dybalamask (hashtag)siuuuuuuu or …. (hashtag)siuuumask.”

Ronaldo, who had set up Dybala’s goal, performed their combined celebration again when he scored the third goal against Frosinone, following a pass by Mario Mandzukic.

The former Real Madrid forward has already developed a good partnership with Mandzukic and it now appears as though his understanding with Dybala is developing swiftly, too.

That is causing Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri a selection headache for Wednesday’s Champions League round of 16 game at Atletico Madrid. All three forwards could play, with Dybala dropping deeper, as has happened on a number of occasions this season.

“We’re going to Madrid to score,” Allegri said. “Obviously it will be a different game, but we are fine.

“I still have some doubts on the formation – the important thing is that the challenge is approached with the right focus.”

Juventus has scored three goals and conceded none in each of its previous two matches. Moreover, Ronaldo has scored 22 times in 31 matches against Atletico.

WAYWARD NAPOLI

Napoli slipped to its second successive 0-0 draw in Serie A and 13 points behind Juventus.

Carlo Ancelotti’s lineup had 26 shots against Torino on Sunday and hit the post but couldn’t find the back of the net, and its wayward finishing has let it down this season.

“It’s an unfavorable period for us in which the ball doesn’t want to go in despite the numerous chances we’re creating,” midfielder Piotr Zielinski said.

“Today as well we had so many chances to score but we can’t manage to finish them off. Certainly it’s our fault but it’s also true that we’re not lucky. We deserved more not only today but also in other matches.”

RADJA’S BACK

Radja Nainggolan is back to his best and demonstrating the scintillating talent he displayed so often at Roma.

Nainggolan scored for the first time since Nov. 3 on Sunday, netting the winning goal to help Inter Milan to a 2-1 victory over Sampdoria.

The Belgian midfielder also made some incisive runs with the quick bursts Roma and Serie A fans had become used to in previous seasons.

He had already shown hints of that in the previous match, where he set up the goal for Inter’s 1-0 win at Parma.

“I had problems in the past, now I’m thinking only of playing and of giving my best for Inter,” Nainggolan said.

Nainggolan has struggled since joining from Roma in the offseason in a deal which valued him at more than $40 million. The 30-year-old had injury problems but was then banned for a match in December after repeatedly turning up late for training.

Since then he has knuckled down. He also underwent a strict training regime at the start of the year to lose weight and regain full fitness.

Nainggolan could perhaps give some advice to Mauro Icardi, who was watching from the stands at San Siro with wife and agent Wanda Nara after a difficult week for the club and its star forward.

Icardi was stripped of his captaincy on Wednesday amid protracted contract negotiations and the Argentina international then pulled out of Inter’s squad for the Europa League trip to Rapid Vienna and the Sampdoria match, officially with a knee injury.

“I hope the matters off the pitch will be resolved,” Nainggolan said. “The team is united and we want to win.

“I think Icardi has always given his all. I hope for him and for us that he comes back as soon as possible.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Juventus clobbers Frosinone to open 14 point Serie A lead

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Paulo Dybala and Leonardo Bonucci found the back of the net inside the opening 20 minutes, and that was all she wrote as Juventus hammered 19th placed Frosinone 3-0 to jump 14 points clear at the top of the Serie A table and remain unbeaten in the Italian top flight.

Dybala was first on the scoresheet just six minutes into the match, striking from straightaway outside the box and ripping a missile into the top-right corner, leaving a late-reacting Marco Sportiello sprawled on the ground. The goal is Dybala’s first league strike since November, ending a 10-match scoreless streak in thunderous fashion.

In the 17th minute, with Juventus picking its spots, they struck again, this time on a corner. The ball pinged around the area as Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic both got touched, and eventually it fell to Sami Khedira at the far post who looked to be in position to hammer it home. The shot was blocked by the mass of bodies on the doorstep, but Bonucci got to the ball right on the line and poked it in.

Frosinone had only managed one shot on target by halftime, and after the break, Juventus put the game away. Who else would be there to put the game over the line but Ronaldo, who finished off a Mandzukic cross on the counter with a vicious low, right-footed effort in the 63rd minute.

Juventus eased the game out from there, finishing with 60% possession and holding Frosinone to just the one shot on target while popping off six of their own. They were dominant in the air and on the ground, winning 23 of 30 aerial duels and completing seven of an attempted 10 take-ons.

The win sent Juventus a massive 14 points clear at the top of the Serie A table, still undefeated on the season in league play with 66 points out of a possible 72. They are well on their way to an eighth straight league title, an unprecedented streak of Italian top flight dominance.