The story of Paulo Dybala who is rarely known, turns out to be of Polish descent

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“Life has a unique way of leading us on different journeys.”

1NEWS – World War II brought great losses to world civilization and left disaster in the affected countries. On September 1, 1939, the Nazi invasion of Poland sparked the start of a six-year war that resulted in many families being separated, even losing family members.

German leaders swept through Polish cities and robbed them of all the resources they had. Many families were separated, leaving small children and mothers to fend for themselves. Meanwhile, adult males are subject to mandatory military service.

Holding on to hope is the only way they can survive. The struggle they put in is just to keep the bloodline alive. Cities crumbled to ashes, until this terrible conflict ended in September 1945.

Many of the victims were employed by the Germans, including Boleslaw Dybala, a man with a world-famous surname synonymous with football.

Born in Krasniow, a small village in southern Poland, Boleslaw was forced to work for Germany during the war. The crippled infrastructure means jobs are few and far between, forcing thousands of Poles to seek their fortunes elsewhere. With all the considerations, Boleslaw finally decided to leave for Argentina.

For many footballers, their pedigree is not always clear. Every player has a story to tell, as does current Juventus and Argentine superstar Paulo Dybala.

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Growing up in Laguna Larga in Cordoba, Argentina, Dybala started his football career at the age of four on the local football pitch. He was running around with the ball tied to his feet. At the age of 17, his local club, Instituto, gave him the opportunity to fulfill his dream of becoming a footballer.

His debut season in Argentina’s second division started quite well. He became the youngest player to score for the club, surpassing Mario Kempes’ record. After spending eight years in Argentina, Europe called his name.

On 29 April 2012, the president of the Sicilian club, Palermo, Maurizio Zamparini, announced the signing of Dybala.

Indeed, little is known about the background of ‘La Joya’. In addition to his teenage years in Cordoba and his present fame, Dybala began to set foot in Italy with an East European feel.

Still living in Krasniow, Boleslaw’s sister (Paulo’s grandmother), Henryka Palasinska, has the deepest memories of her sister and her hardships during the Second World War era. During Paulo Dybala’s 2015 documentary ‘La Joya’, he spoke about this predicament.

“He slept in the cornfield for two weeks without food. Luckily, she managed to contact someone at home and help arrived in time to save her from starvation,” Palasinska recalled.

Football is not ingrained in the Dybala family genealogy. Boleslaw spent many years as a priest. Sport was probably the last thing on his mind, as his top priority was staying in touch with the people close to his heart.

His brother in Canada would send letters on special occasions, such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Boleslaw eventually died when Dybala was only 4 years old and memories of his grandfather’s whereabouts may still be hazy. Nevertheless, the impression he left on his superstar grandson remained.

Gaining Polish citizenship was Dybala’s goal when he set foot in Sicily, as he felt connected to his grandfather. In the end, limitations resulted in him obtaining an Italian passport through his mother, who is from Naples.

To this day, although not so open to the public about his origins, Dybala is still more proud of his ancestors even though doubts have never clouded his mind about which country was in his heart.

Before Dybala chose Argentina, concerted efforts were made by the Polish and Italian federations to tempt the teenager into their squad. In December 2012, after performing well at the Euros, Italy boss Cesare Prandelli reportedly contacted Dybala and offered him to represent the Gli Azzurri.

Prandelli has a well-known reputation for selecting non-Italian born players, commonly referred to as ‘oriundi’. Previously, Prandelli had also successfully done this for several naturalized Argentine players such as Pablo Dani Osvaldo and Ezequiel Schelotto.

Poland also reportedly made an approach in 2011. They allegedly contacted Dybala and asked if he wanted to represent Bialo-Czerwoni. However, this offer was politely rejected by Dybala.

Like his two older brothers, Gustavo and Mariano, Dybala was born and raised in Argentina and his desire to wear the ‘La Albiceleste’ shirt is clear.

“I’ve always dreamed of playing for the country I was born in, my country. I want to represent my family and grandfather, I am Argentinean,” Dybala said.

In the 2014/2015 season with I Rosanero, Dybala surpassed double figures in goals and assists, sparking rumors of a big summer move. It is not surprising that top Italian clubs such as AC Milan and Juventus came to invite him to join. And, the choice is of course I Bianconeri with a transfer value of 32 million euros (Rp 530 billion) plus bonuses.

Life has a unique way of leading us on different journeys. With no choice but to seek a better life, Boleslaw Dybala’s trip to Argentina paved the way for a star who finally shined. But, looking back some twenty years ago, we probably wouldn’t have shared this story if it weren’t for Dybala’s meteoric rise as a footballer.

Dybac, from Polish, means to stalk someone or something. These words fit the 23-year-old ‘Old Lady’ star. After all, he was the gladiator stalking his first Champions League trophy from behind his now-famous mask celebration.

Next month, according to filmmaker Mateusz, Dybala’s brother Mariano will visit Poland for the first time. If Dybala lifts the trophy next month in Cardiff, perhaps he will join his brother on his maiden visit, accepting his relative’s offer of a toast with Polish vodka.

(diaz alvioriki/yul)

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