Maurizio Sarri wants Cristiano Ronaldo to break more records, is counting on Paulo Dybala and says Gonzalo Higuain has ‘3-4 more years at a high level’.
Sarri coached Eden Hazard with great success at Chelsea last season, but he confessed Ronaldo was ‘the next level’ for him ahead of his Juventus reign, while showering praise on Dybala and Douglas Costa.
“I’ve trained great players over the years, but with Ronaldo I move on to the next level, a player who is at the top of the world,” boasted the Coach at his official Juve unveiling.
“This is a lad with every record in world football and I’d like to help him set another, knowing I contributed to it.
“I trained a player with the all-time Serie A record for goals in a single season (Gonzalo Higuain at Napoli). I’d like to make that two. It’d be an enormous satisfaction.
“I think when a player has the qualities of Dybala or Cristiano, he can play in any role. What changes is the interpretation of the role and the squad must adapt to those characteristics, as centre-forward is a key role.
“I asked to talk to 2-3 players so we could share some ideas. Around 30 years ago, I believed I could impose my views on players, but now I realise it’s important to ask players how they view themselves and weave it all together.
“I don’t know if I’ll visit Ronaldo in a few days or more, we haven’t organised anything. The players who can really change everything are in attack.
“It’s up to us to organise the players around the field, but in the final third there are players with the talent to make the difference.
“Ronaldo is talented, so is Dybala, Douglas Costa is a potential top player who hasn’t really shown what he can do consistently.
“These are great talents and we must see how we can build around them, what they can give in defending.
“The players who make the difference are the most talented, so those are the ones you build around.
“I haven’t named Higuain, Mandzukic, I don’t have the entire squad list at my disposal. I was just making some examples, not ruling anyone out.
“Pipa is a lad I love a great deal and it depends on him if he remains. There are directors here who have been following these players for years, so I will listen to their opinions too.
“Maybe not [on] Higuain, who I know pretty well, but I will first and foremost listen and adapt to what the club suggests.
“It would be unfair for me to impose my ideas on people who know these players more than me.
“Once I get a clearer idea of what our key system will be, then we’ll talk about transfers. I don’t like to name names to a club, but I am more focused on characteristics and the kind of players I’d like to have. Paratici knows far more players than me, so we’re in good hands.
The former Napoli boss then hinted he would be reuniting once more with Higuain, whose career in Turin appeared to be over.
“I haven’t spoken to Gonzalo since the post-Europa League Final party. I had to get my ideas sorted on Juve and this club.
“He is a Juventus player, so when he returns from vacation, we’ll have the opportunity to talk.
“Gonzalo has the characteristics that allow him to play with anyone. I said it depends on Gonzalo because I get the feeling he didn’t enjoy the post-Juventus experience and was a little shaken after that season, these things happen.
“If he can get a strong reaction, he can play another 3-4 years at a high level.”
The 60-year-old rounded things off with a comment on Federico Bernardeschi.
“Everyone knows I like this lad, ever since Fiorentina-Napoli. He is well-organised, has talent, but lacks a little bit of consistency from game to game.
“I think this is the moment of his career where he needs to play consistently in one single role.”