Paulo Dybala may miss the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar after suffering a freak injury during scoring Roma’s 2-1 victory against Lecce.
The Argentine striker, according to Roma manager Jose Mourinho, has a “very terrible” muscular issue that might keep him out until 2023.
Former Juventus hero Dybala stood up while holding the left leg he had used to score his penalty kick in the 48th minute.
He groaned and kept holding his thigh as teammates who had rushed to applaud him quickly switched to showing worry.
Dybala then limped off the field and was replaced right immediately.
In Mourinho’s words: “The injury looks very bad. I’d say bad, but honestly after speaking with Paulo… I think very bad”.
Less than seven weeks before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar, Dybala is now anticipated to undergo medical examinations on Monday.
Chris Smalling, a former defender for Manchester United, scored Roma’s first goal early on.
After a late challenge on Andrea Belotti, Lecce midfielder Mortan Hjulmand received a straight red card by VAR.
Gabriel Strefezza, though, shocked Roma by bringing Lecce even.
Roma needed to win in order to move up to fifth in Serie A, so Mourinho brought on former Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham and Leonardo Spinazzola for the second half.
And after 48 minutes, Kristoffer Askildsen accidentally elbowed England prospect Abraham, allowing Paulo Dybala to score the game-winning goal and give himself one more chance to celebrate.
The 28-year-old’s injury is only the latest one, despite the fact that up until Sunday he seemed to be having one of his fittest seasons.
Paulo Dybala will not play for Roma again in 2022 – Mourinho
Paulo Dybala’s return to action for Roma in 2022 is “unlikely,” according to Jose Mourinho, who is also quite dissatisfied with his team’s performance against Lecce with 10 men. “The players occasionally do the exact opposite of what I ask.”
Even after the Chris Smalling header and the harsh red card for Hjulmand, Lecce managed to equalize through Gabriel Strefezza, demonstrating that it was far from a flawless effort.
The Giallorossi only won thanks to Dybala’s penalty for a minor clip on Tammy Abraham’s heel, and it cost them dearly because La Joya hurt her left thigh while taking the kick.
“I don’t remember many games in my career with 11 against 10 where I wanted it to end as soon as possible. There was fatigue yes, physical and a little psychological too, as it’s tough playing Thursday and then Sunday,” Mourinho told DAZN.
“I watched Udinese–Atalanta today, you can see very clearly they are teams who only play one game a week. However, that is not a justification.
“We started hungry, intensive and moving the ball around quickly, then it was tougher against 10 because they clammed up yes, but also tougher because we moved the ball badly. I get the feeling it often happens that when you are tired, you make things over-complicated rather than keep it simple.
“You need to move the ball around to create the spaces, but Belotti was the only one who had any real impetus with the ball at his feet. Lecce waited for the final 10 minutes to risk everything for an equaliser.
“It’s true that we had the chances to score more, but also true that they could’ve equalised with a bit of luck. We didn’t play well today, but we won. Obviously, I’d prefer to have the points and a good performance, but for now the result will do.”
La Joya appeared to be in tears as he sat on the bench, and Mourinho was questioned about how Dybala was doing and whether Roma supporters will see him again in 2022, he said;
“I think extremely, very horrible when I speak bad. I’m not a doctor, but based on my knowledge and what Paulo told me, I doubt we’ll see him this year.”
As Argentina prepares to kick off the World Cup in mid-November, it is still unknown how serious the injury is.
How can Mourinho assist his team in breaking that barrier? The Giallorossi have a very obvious problem: they need to score more goals.