Friday May 26 2017
Dybala: ‘Working on my right foot’

Juventus forward Paulo Dybala says he’s working hard on his right foot - “with one foot it’s easier for opponents to read you”.

The Argentinian international is known for his cultured left foot, but the 23-year-old is aware he can’t simply rely on that.

“I’m left-handed, I even brush my teeth with my left hand,” Dybala explained to Il Venerdì.

“I take a pen every day and I try to write, but with my right foot, I put it between my big toe and the little one.

“I work like a crazy person to have more sensitivity and ability. Not just that, I also train with my eyes; to see further, in different directions, to anticipate my opponents and see trajectories.

“I’ve also started doing a lot of gym work, in Italy I’ve started learning to defend the ball.

“[Gennaro] Gattuso, who was then the Palermo Coach, told me not to overdo the weights though, I don’t need to be Big Jim, the explosiveness in my legs is enough.

“Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 360 goals, which is because he’s right-footed but also strong with his left. With one foot you’re easier to mark and it’s easier for opponents to read you.

“In Italy the defenders don’t mess around, it’s a good school.”

Dybala also discussed his life in Turin, which he sees as very different from Sicily and Palermo.

“I don’t mind signing autographs or taking photos. Of course I can think of [Francesco] Totti, who I think of as a prisoner king. He can’t even move around in his city.

“I noticed that there are different Italians when I came to the north, to Juve. At Palermo I lived in Mondello, I went bike riding, I’d go to the sea and the neighbours took care of me.

“Even if my mum, Alicia, was there, whatever I was missing they’d be there. Turin is elegant and discreet, they leave you along but if you need sugar it’s pointless going to the neighbours, you’re better off just going straight to the supermarket.

“We Argentines are affectionate, we need a family. So this reserved attitude was a bit difficult for me.

“On the bus to the stadium, everyone puts their headphones in and listens to their songs, in Argentina we had a big speaker to blast out the music. It might be a bit ignorant, but it’s fun.

“[Gianluigi] Buffon welcomed me to Juve last season. We were in trouble, four points from 10 games and we lost to Sassuolo, our fourth defeat.

“Gigi spoke about humility, a sense of responsibility, shame for the bad performances. Right then I understood that Juve don’t apologise, and the code of winning never changes.”

La Joya is known for his Gladiator mask celebration, and he explained how that came about.

“It came from my mistake, in the Supercoppa final with Milan in Doha,” Dybala explained.

“It wasn’t a nice time and I was disappointed, above all I was struggling to bounce back, I looked at the others and I felt guilty.

“So I posted Michael Jordan’s quote: ‘I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed’.

“The mask comes from Gladiator, a film I must have seen 30 times. In life you have to get up and fight.

“I also understand though that there are unnecessary wars. They put me against [Lionel] Messi, in a confrontation, but I don’t have to dribble past him. He’s already done it all, I’m still doing it.

“I want to win in the national team with Messi, not in place of him.”