LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)-Paulo Dybala admitted to Cristiano Ronaldo that he “hated him as a kid” while they were both playing for Juventus because of his Argentine heritage.
The explosive pair played together for three seasons, winning two Serie A championships and a number of domestic cups before the Portuguese made a shocking comeback to Manchester United in the summer of 2021.
Dybala, whose allegiances in that discussion are obviously in favor of his national hero, once joked with Ronaldo on a team flight that playing beside one of the best players of all time at the club level was still a foreign experience for him.
The Argentinean said: “It was three good years with Cristiano, the team was strong and he gave us something extra,” in a reflection to host Diletta Leotta of DAZN’s “Scacco Capitale.”
“In Argentina, there is a fierce rivalry between him and [Lionel] Messi, and as a child, I was unavoidably on Messi’s side. When we took a plane to go play a game, I sat in the back and he sat further up front. He approached me at one time to discuss football and other topics.
I told him: “I basically hated you as a kid” since we used to talk about our lives in general. We laughed quite a bit. Our interactions have always been positive and constructive.
Dybala left Juventus a year after Ronaldo went, moving to Rome to join Jose Mourinho’s Roma. Ronaldo had left Juventus back in 2021.
The 29-year-old, who has had some fitness concerns, has nevertheless scored 25 goals in 34 games this season, which is an impressive total.
Also, he has helped the Giallorossi get as far as the Europa League semifinals and within one goal of Champions League qualification.
Speaking further about his choice to join the capital club, Dybala says: “The story begins a bit here at the Colosseum. As a child, I watched many films about Rome and the gladiators. I must have seen the film ‘Gladiator’ more or less twenty times. When Tiago Pinto contacted us, these things came to mind. I said to myself ‘I have to do something in this city'”.
In Rome, Mourinho is sort of having a comeback, and Dybala said the Portuguese was instrumental in luring him to the city: “Mourinho has an image and an important power for what he represents in the world of football. He would be a good chess player. Before arriving in Roma we spoke twice, he is very good at ‘getting inside someone’. I have felt a special feeling: finding someone who speaks sincerely in the world of football is difficult.”
Roma is currently in fifth place as a result of Juventus’ 15 points in the league being reinstated with seven games remaining and the Argentine hopes to play in their upcoming match against fellow European contenders Milan on Saturday at home.