Having bounced straight back up to Italy’s top flight as Serie B champions last time out, Palermo have garnered many plaudits for their performances over the course of this campaign.
Giuseppe Iachini’s charges are one of the toughest sides to beat on their own turf, last losing to Lazio by a 4-0 scoreline back in the autumn. And in an attempt to reestablish themselves as Serie A mainstays, their swashbuckling style of play has seen many individuals step up to the plate this term.
While the countdown continues to Saturday’s upcoming clash, Juventus.com analyses three Rosanero names who will want to prove the difference up against the league leaders: midfield dynamo Edgar Barreto, offensive talent Franco Vazquez and top scorer Paulo Dybala.
Name: Edgar Barreto
Position: Central midfielder
Famed for his professional attitude, Edgar Barreto is essentially the heartbeat of this Palermo outfit.
Since joining from Atalanta back in August 2011, the 30-year-old has made over a centenary of appearances in the pink jersey and led them back up to the big time during their successful promotion campaign last time out.
In his role as the midfield metronome, Barreto patrols the Rosanero rearguard, is strong in the challenge and adept with either foot in order to get attacks firmly up and running.
The former Reggina man, who announced his international retirement from the Paraguay national side four years ago, has two goals and five assists in 21 Serie A matches for Iachini’s troops this year.
Name: Franco Vazquez
Position: Attacking midfielder
Slippery customer Franco Vazquez will try and prove a handful for the Bianconeri backline as soon as he steps out onto the Stadio Renzo Barbera pitch.
Dubbed a classic offensive talent with good technique and excellent vision, the 26-year-old possesses the power to hurt teams, having already notched seven strikes and nine assists this term.
The classy attacking midfielder was voted man of the match in Palermo’s 3-1 triumph against Napoli last month where he bagged a goal and two assists, giving him the status of a ‘big-game player’.
Despite having never been capped by Argentina at international level, Barreto holds Italian citizenship and is tipped to be called up for the Azzurri’s forthcoming friendlies against Bulgaria and England later this month.
Name: Paulo Dybala
Striker Paulo Dybala has demonstrated himself as one of the shining lights in the 2014/15 Serie A season.
Plucked from relative obscurity back in 2012, he left Argentine Primera B Nacional outfit for the Rosanero and, after three years at the club, is now one of the first names on Iachini's teamsheet.
Touted by many quarters as a future superstar, the 21-year-old has been a virtual ever-present this term, contributing to exactly half of the Rosanero’s 38 league strikes (12 goals and seven assists).
A speedy, creative and nimble forward, Dybala is also known for his expert dribbling skills and ability to control the ball in limited space. The youngster, who is currently one of the most coveted marksmen in Europe, thrives on counter-attacks and can play in a variety of positions up front.