Serie A

Paulo Dybala learning to be a 'model professional' at Juventus

Massimiliano Allegri recently denied a rift with Paulo Dybala and the Juventus forward has heaped praise on his coach and teammates.

Dybala: Allegri has helped me develop

Paulo Dybala says he is learning a lot from Massimiliano Allegri after the Juventus head coach denied a rift with the forward.

Dybala on being a model professional

Dybala left the Juve bench before the end of the 3-3 draw with Parma at the start of the month, the substitute reacting to Allegri's decision not to use him.

He later apologised and Allegri described the Argentina international as a "clever boy" for saying sorry over the incident, before rejecting claims the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo had restricted Dybala's opportunities.

And ahead of Wednesday's Champions League last-16 first leg away to Atletico Madrid, Dybala piled praise on Allegri.

"I have learned a great deal from him, particularly in terms of the way we work, how to be a model professional and being fully focused during training so that you know what to expect during games," Dybala told UEFA's website.

"The coach has helped me an awful lot. Right from the first day that I arrived here, although I've played in a number of positions, he's always given me the freedom to go out, perform and play where I wanted to.

"I think that trust is very important and it's a really good feeling when a player feels they're part of what such a big club is trying to achieve."

Cristiano another to learn from

Former Real Madrid forward Ronaldo has hit 22 goals against Atleti, including three hat-tricks, but Dybala would not be drawn on whether he rates the Portugal captain above his international team-mate Lionel Messi.

"[Ronaldo is] a laid-back and normal guy, like the rest of us. Despite all he's achieved throughout his career, he's always been very gracious in the dressing room," Dybala added. 

"That helps to make you feel comfortable when you're in the presence of such a player. I compare him to Leo Messi, because everyone else does, and I think that they're two exceptional players; as I said, you learn a great deal from players and people like them, both on and off the field.

"We already know all about their playing style, how Diego Simeone sets his sides up and just how tough it'll be. To reach the final and win this competition, you have to beat whoever is in front of you and you're never going to have any easy games.

"Atlético are very strong defensively and are very good on the counter. If you're not alert defensively, they've got players who can wreak real havoc. The same goes for us; we know where our strengths lie and they'll likely be working hard to try and make sure we don't do them any damage."

Juventus lost to Ronaldo's Madrid in the 2017 final and Dybala says they have high motivation to collect a first European crown since 1995-96.

"Given what happened, we have a score to settle. When you lose games like that, you always want another chance to put it right," he continued. "Football is a sport that always offers you the chance to make amends and I think we'll have that opportunity.

"It's obviously not easy to get that far and the team really wants to, which can ultimately go against you, but we're in a relaxed frame of mind and always try to convey to people and those within the club that we're doing well and want to try and reach the final.

"But we have to take things slowly, particularly considering the strong desire within the squad. Things can turn sour and you can end up being on the receiving end of a real setback and that sometimes proves to be even more painful.

"We have to take things step by step. We know that it'll be far from easy, but as a team we're really up for it."