Argentine international Dybala, who is currently training as Juventus prepares to restart Italian football season on Friday in a Coppa Italia match against AC Milan, recalls the impact he had on Kean and believes the country’s football authorities must deliver tougher sanctions on the league. was relived by incidents of racist abuse.
“It wasn’t really easy for him and I experienced various racist situations with other Juventus teammates at other stadiums,” Dybala told CNN in an exclusive interview. “Many Italian stadiums have a certain racism against some players – it happened to Mario Balotelli, it happened to (Miralem) Pjanić in the game against Brescia and I think the Italian penalties should be stricter.
“If not, then we, the players, will have to take action into our own hands to keep it from happening, because we are talking about one of the biggest championships in the world, where millions of people watch and if they see there is racism and do nothing, people get empowered and keep doing it.
“People who have to do something have to do it, or they will surely in a short time be players who will act directly. As has happened in the past, many players choose to leave the field or not play and it seems to me the perfect decision because it is something that should not happen in a country.
“If society, in this case the Italian Federation, decides not to do anything, the players should be the ones to act. Or, as the referees have done many times in the past, stop the game so that these people do not continue to commit that crime.”
The Italian Football Association (FIGC) was not immediately available for comment when CNN contacted him.
The players are protesting
On May 25, George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died in Minneapolis after being arrested by a white police officer who forcibly pinned him to the ground for several minutes while kneeling on his neck. His death provoked widespread protests around the world.
Since Floyd’s death, several Bundesliga players and teams have joined the protests on the ground, led by quartets Jadon Sancho, Achraf Hakimi, Weston McKennie and Marcus Thuram.
Dybala believes his black teammates should never think they have to fight racists on their own.
“Sometimes it’s hard to put yourself in the shoes of someone who suffers from racism when you never actually tolerate it because you don’t feel it,” Dybala says. “But you know what happens because you have a teammate who suffers from racism, not only because of the color of his skin, but also because of the country they discriminate or see as something bad.
“It’s not just because of the color of the skin, but people are discriminated against because of everything. I’ve seen Asian players who were with me in the youth national team and these things are sad.
“Fortunately, my family raised me differently and I can respect people for what they are, for the way they think, not for the way they are dressed, what country or skin color they are from.
“I think everyone should grow up that way, but obviously not. It’s not the case here that it’s just people in color fighting racism. Here we all need to be united as a society, as the world does.”
After the racist abuse that Kean suffered against Cagliari, then-Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri and defender Leonardo Bonucci were widely condemned for commenting on the incident.
Bonucci said Kean had to take on a “50-50 curve” while Allegri criticized the young man for his celebration after scoring.
Defense counsel subsequently withdrew his comments, saying they were “misunderstood” and “too hurried,” and although Dybala admits the comments were wrong, he believes they are not a truly representative couple.
“At the time, they weren’t the right words for what was going on,” Dybala says. “You have to be very careful when you talk about certain things and deliver the right message you want to say, because often words are not taken the way they really want to be said.
“Of course both the player and the coach can learn from certain things because I know them so well and I know they don’t have racist thoughts. Maybe they didn’t use the words they wanted to say at the time. So, I repeat, I think [fighting racism] is something we have to do, so that it doesn’t happen on the football field. “
Nicknamed ‘La Joya’ – ‘The Jewel’ – since making his professional debut for the Argentine Instituto, Dybala has become one of the most sought after players in Europe.
Dybala humbly insists that he never expected to reach the heights of a club like Juventus or have the opportunity to represent Argentina on the international stage.
The 26-year-old was born in Laguna Larga, a small town of just 6,000 people, “where dreams often seem unattainable,” he says.
Along with Cristiano Ronaldo, Dybala is one of Juventus ’most respected assets. Given how important he is to Maurizio Sarri’s team, it is absurd to think that he almost left the club this time last year.
“It was more or less last year at this point when Juventus didn’t want to count on me, they didn’t want me to keep playing here,” Dybala recalls. “I contacted then and there were some clubs that interested me. Among them were Manchester United and Tottenham. I think there were talks for a long time, and then Paris Saint-Germain showed up.
“I haven’t talked to any of them, but there have been conversations with clubs. However, at the time my intention was to stay. I haven’t had a good year or positive for the last six months, so I don’t want to go with that picture because I think I’m a club provided a lot of nice moments and it wasn’t fair that I went like this.
“So I also conveyed that my intention was to stay here, work to develop and do my best. Obviously it was not easy because Juventus’ intentions were different, but after the market closed, there was no more time with Sarri’s arrival a lot. I grew up. The team started to play football a lot better and that made me stay and I had a great year until today. “
Given that some of Europe’s biggest clubs are struggling around signing him, it’s surprising that Juventus are still not bringing in their star after the summer of 2022.
Dybala has a clear voice and sees her future only in Turin, but admits that it is a decision that both sides will have to agree on.
“For now, there’s nothing, really,” Dybala admits. “I have another year and a half on the contract, which is not much, and I understand that it all happened [coronavirus] it’s not easy for the club, but the other players have also recovered – so here we are waiting.
“Obviously I’m a player of this club and I’m happy to be here. People love me very much and I love people very much. I really appreciate the club and the people who are here, I have a good relationship with my president and he will definitely come to talk at some point – or maybe not, I don’t know, “he laughs.
“Renewals may be possible at some point, but that depends on Juventus.”
Dybala is one of the few players who has had the joy of playing alongside Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, at a distance the two greatest players of his generation.
Although he is not on international duty with Argentina, the pair rarely talk about football, but Dybala admits that playing together with his international teammate at the club level is an attractive proposition.
“It’s true that Barcelona is a huge team around the world, and that Messi is even bigger,” he says. “It would be very nice, but Juventus is also an amazing club, very big, full of history, where there are great players at the moment.
“There is enough quality here to create two teams and the ability to play with them [Gianluigi] Buffon and Cristiano Ronaldo, which make the club even bigger. “