Dubai: Juventus’ Argentine star Paulo Dybala is enjoying his rare status of playing alongside two of the best players of this generation.
The 26-year-old Dybala, who was among the first sportspersons to test positive for COVID-19, is now back to his club in Turin where he plays alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. And as an important member in the Argentina squad, Dybala cherishes his proximity to Lionel Messi.
In an exclusive interview with CNN Sport, Dybala has shared an insight into what it’s like to play alongside Ronaldo for Juventus and Messi for the Argentina national team, while comparing two of the greatest players of our time.
“The truth is that you learn a lot because he is a player (Ronaldo), in this case, who is a winner and that makes you a winner,” he said.
“How he has managed to make his career, how he has managed to win his trophies, his accolades, everything he has earned through sacrifice and training. So, one always feels admiration and tries to learn from the things he has.
“Leo is also an incredible player who plays in such a natural way that many times people think that what he’s doing is easy and the truth is that it’s impossible how he moves, how jumps past players, how he dribbles past players so easily, the truth is that is incredible.”
Considered one of the world’s most valuable players, Dybala is commonly referred to as “La Joya” (The Jewel) due to his creative style of play, pace, talent, technique and eye for goal. An integral part of Juventus since joining the Turin side in 2015, Dybala insisted he would rather enjoy both players than strike a comparison between Ronaldo and Messi.
“I see a big difference, but I try not to compare them. I think I rather try to enjoy them, and I just learn from both of them. They are incredible players, the best in history, that everyone will remember forever, and I have the opportunity to speak with both of them, to learn from the two, to share pitch with the two and working with these two monsters is very nice,” Dybala insisted.
Joining Juventus for an initial fee of €32 million, he has since made over 200 appearances for the club, winning the double of Serie A and Coppa Italia in each of his three seasons. He has also been named in the Serie A Team of the Year on three occasions so far.
Turning to a personal note, Dybala disclosed how he struggled to cope with the early death of his father to cancer in 2008, when he was just 14 years old. “It was a blow, a hard blow for the family,” he said. “I had to start maturing in a certain way a little faster because of the situation I was living and obviously I would have liked to share everything I’ve lived, everything I have learnt and the places I have been, people that I have met with my father.
“But I know somehow, he’s with me always. I always feel that when I play, when I am on a pitch, he is close to me and that is what makes me enjoy this beautiful sport even more.”
This year’s Serie A is a two-horse race between defending champions Juventus and Lazio as just one point separates the two teams with another 12 rounds yet to be played. Dybala is unsure if he is really enjoying the experience of playing behind closed doors with the fans to cheer them on.
“It’s weird finding yourself playing a game without fans. But it’s also weird that when I go down the street, I see bars or restaurants full of people, with people outside, without [social distancing],” he said.
“I think that many rules are being violated, and the truth is that football without people is sad. Without the public, without our fans, playing football is boring, because I think they are part of the atmosphere of this, which is the most important thing in football.”
Dybala missed adding another Coppa Italia trophy to his collection last Wednesday as Juventus went down to Napoli in the final. After a 0-0 draw at regulation time, Dybala missed Juventus’ first spot kick after his shot was saved by Alex Meret as Napoli went on to win 4-2 on penalties.