In a frank admission, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo strike partner Paulo Dybala has said there is little goodwill towards the Portugal forward in Argentina and spoken about playing with the modern greats for club and country.
Dybala confessed to being “surprised” at Ronaldo during the pair’s time at Serie A table-toppers Juventus, where the pair have bonded on and off the pitch, despite the animosity towards the Portuguese in Dybala’s native Argentina.
The 26-year-old has been markedly more successful with club strike partner Ronaldo than he has at international level alongside Lionel Messi, the Argentina icon who condemned Ronaldo to third place when he won the 2019 Ballon d’Or.
“I said to him, ‘Cristiano, in Argentina, we hate you a bit because of your figure, because of how you are, of how you walk,'” Dybala told the Argentine Football Association.
“The truth is that you’ve surprised me because I’ve found you to be different.”
Ronaldo has only scored once against Argentina – a relatively innocuous equalizer in a friendly in Switzerland during a 2-1 defeat for Portugal in 2011 – but is unlikely to have endeared himself to South Americans who dislike his posturing this week, posing half-naked against a wall in a social media post showing off his ripped torso.
Dybala and Ronaldo drastically improve Juventus’s statistics when they play together, increasing the Bianconeri’s goal average from 1.5 to 2 per game, while helping Maurizio Sarri’s side win 15 of the 19 games when they have both been on the pitch.
There has only been one match this season in which neither player has scored when they have both played for Juve, leading to increasing numbers of questions about his differing relationships with Ronaldo and Messi.
The player with the rare distinction of playing alongside both of the game