Dybala: ‘Barcelona still Barcelona’


Juventus forward Paulo Dybala doesn’t think the sale of Neymar will affect Barcelona – “they’re always Barça”.

The Bianconeri beat the Catalans 3-0 on aggregate in last season’s Champions League, and the Blaugrana lost one of their star men to Paris Saint-Germain this summer.

“Barça lost an important player in Neymar, but they’ve replaced him with other important players,” Dybala cautioned, sitting alongside Coach Max Allegri in the pre-match Press conference.

“Aside from that they’re always Barça, they have to be respected for what they are: the history, the name, the fame.

“Since the start of the league season they haven’t conceded any goals in this stadium [Camp Nou], so we’ll have to take advantage as much as possible when we have the ball.

“We’ll also need to try and defend together, because they have players who can hurt us if they’re left free.”

Dybala is known to be a huge admirer of Lionel Messi, could he join him at Barça one day?

“Luckily enough I have the opportunity to play with Messi for Argentina, and it a great pleasure for me to learn from him as a teammate.

“I don’t know what could happen in the future, I’m happy at Juventus, I feel at ease and this year I’ve made the decision to wear a shirt which means a lot in the history of the club [number 10]. I don’t know what will happen in the future.

“Did Barcelona want me this summer? I don’t know, no-one said anything to me. The club never came to me to say there was an offer on the table.

“The only thing the club said to me is that they want me to be part of this project for a long time, and I’m happy about that.

“For that reason we made the decision that I’d wear a very important number for the club, the number 10, and try to do my best.

“As long as the club and the President [Andrea Agnelli] want me at Juve, then that’s where I’ll be.

“It’s a huge pleasure for me to be able to play with this number, because of the players who have worn this shirt in the past, it’s a great pleasure for me.


“That said, facing this match in the number 10 doesn’t change anything for me, I’ll try to put in a good performance, try to do my all and help my teammates in every respect.”

La Joya scored twice against Barcelona last season, and has started this season with seven goals in four games.

“No-one expected what I did last year and now everyone is expecting me to do what I did last year,” Dybala said.

“It’s certainly not easy to face a team like Barcelona. It’s always difficult in a stadium like this where they attack you so much, but we know we’ll have our chances.

“Even Barcelona give their opponents chances and we’ll have to take advantage of those.

“Personally I feel really good, I had a great pre-season and I was training a lot even when I was back in Argentina because I knew this was a very important year both for Juventus and for the national team.

“When the season ends with Juve there’s the World Cup which means so much to us. So I’m trying to do my best, to grow, because I know this can be an important year to win so much, and also on a personal level.

“Comparisons with Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar? They’re a pleasure for me, because it means I’m doing well.

“People see something in me that something could happen in the future, but I have to be calm, keep working and try to grow every day because to maintain this level we need to do better every day.

“We’re talking about Messi and Ronaldo who have reached levels no player has reached, then another player like Neymar who is amazing.”