Paulo Dybala has repeatedly said he doesn’t want to be likened to his more famous compatriot Lionel Messi but the comparisons will keep coming as the Argentina youngster goes from strength to strength.
Dybala marked his 100th Juventus appearance with his second hat trick of the season to help the Bianconeri win 3-1 at Sassuolo on Sunday and stay perfect in Serie A.
Napoli, which crushed Serie A debutant Benevento 6-0, has also won its opening four fixtures as has Inter Milan, which beat Crotone 2-0 on Saturday.
“Stop comparing me to Messi, I’m Paulo Dybala,” he said. “Every player is himself. I’m Dybala. It’s not that I don’t like the comparisons with Messi, but Messi is a player who has won five Ballons d’Or.
“The comparisons don’t seem absurd to me but I want to be myself. I don’t want to be compared to any other player. I want to have my career, win my trophies, score my goals and play my way.”
Dybala now has eight goals in Juve’s opening four league matches, just three fewer than he scored in the whole of last campaign. All three of his goals Sunday were impressive.
Dybala netted his 50th goal for Juventus in the 16th minute with a first-time shot into the top right corner from 25 yards after Mario Mandzukic rolled the ball across from the left.
The 23-year-old forward became the first player to score in each of the opening four Serie A games for Juve and the first to do so in Europe’s top five leagues since Wayne Rooney for Manchester United in 2011.
For his second, shortly after halftime, Dybala gathered the ball from Juan Cuadrado, jinked to the left of a defender and slotted into the bottom right corner.
Matteo Politano got Sassuolo back into the game minutes later but Dybala completed his hat trick shortly after the hour, curling in a magnificent free kick.
THE JOY OF SIX
Dries Mertens also netted a hat trick, including two penalties, as Napoli secured a club record ninth successive Serie A victory and recovered from its surprise defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League midweek.
“We know that we can hurt our opponents, even if they have studied the way we play, against Shakhtar we didn’t play as we know how to,” Mertens said. “The season is long. Inter and Juve are doing well, we’ll see what happens.”
Benevento was looking for its first top-flight point but Napoli was out of sight by halftime following goals from Allan, Lorenzo Insigne, Mertens and Jose Callejon.
Mertens doubled his tally from the spot in the 65th after Emanuele Giaccherini was tripped by Raman Chibsah and the Belgium international converted another penalty late on following a Gaetano Letizia foul on Adam Ounas.
CLOSE FOR KALINIC
Nikola Kalinic was denied a hat-trick on review as AC Milan beat Udinese 2-1 to bounce back from last weekend’s 4-1 mauling by Lazio. Kalinic thought he had scored the third goal eight minutes from time but it was ruled out for offside after a video review.
Udinese also had a goal for Kevin Lasagna ruled out by the video assistant referee early on. Lasagna did eventually get on the scoresheet, with the equalizer, between Kalinic’s goals, his first for Milan since joining from Fiorentina.
Duvan Zapata scored 20 seconds into his Sampdoria debut but Torino fought back to draw 2-2 as both sides remained unbeaten this season. Elsewhere, newly promoted Spal lost 2-0 at home to Cagliari. Lazio visits Genoa later, after Chievo Verona vs. Atalanta.