15.02.2017 16:30 - in: Serie A S

      Dybala primed for Palermo and Porto

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      Paulo Dybala looks ahead to a reunion with old side Palermo and Wednesday’s crunch Champions League clash with Porto in Portugal

      With the visit of Palermo just two days away and a tantalizing Champions League trip to Porto following shortly afterwards, who better to speak to than Paulo Dybala?

      After all, the Argentine’s stellar debut Serie A season in the pink and black jersey of Palermo two years ago attracted the attention of the Old Lady whose European hopes now will depend significantly on the 22 year-old’s performances in both legs of their upcoming UCL clash with Porto.

      Discussing his Sicilian past, next week’s Champions League clash, a new system and more with the Sky and Mediaset cameras this afternoon, Dybala is primed for a critical second half of the season. 

      Rosanero reunion

      "Playing against Palermo is always special. I spent three brilliant years in Sicily where I made so many friends and so many memories. 

      "I’m still in touch with my old team-mates, physiotherapists and the club staff. People still call me “Picciriddu” (The Kid), a name given to me in Palermo. Standing on the other side of the line is never easy but I’m a Juventus player and I’ll be giving my all to help us win the game. If I score, I won’t celebrate out of respect."

      New system, new responsibilities

      "The boss has given us forward players big responsibility; in this system we need to track back and defend as well as score and create goals so we don’t get caught on the counter attack. Our shape now maybe gives me a little less space to work in than before, especially when we come up against teams who pack their midfield, but that’s compensated by the options we have in the final third.

      “We’re playing some good stuff at the moment; we are on the front foot more and it suits my style nicely. My game is growing and I’m learning to come deeper to receive the ball early and influence the play as much as I can. I’m not scoring as freely as I had been but that’s also down to bad luck I think, from the block on the line against Crotone to hitting the crossbar against Inter. 

      “Goals or not, I’m pleased with my progress, I’m playing for the team and doing what the boss is asking of me.” 

      “Sassuolo sub? A misunderstanding.”

      “I was out of order in Reggio Emilia (during the Sassuolo game) and it is something that won’t happen again.

      "I know that there isn’t much need or place for that kind of behavior and any wrongdoing was quickly resolved in the dressing room after."

      Allegri: “Future Ballon d’Or winner”

      “It’s a double-edge sword: praise like that is great to hear but it also brings a bit of pressure. I take it as a sign of confidence in me and I hope he is right!

      First Palermo, then Porto

      “Being a part of the Champions League and hearing that anthem is an amazing feeling. Nothing should be taken for granted at this stage of the competition and we all saw what PSG did to Barcelona last night. 

      "From now on, every game will require our absolute focus and respect for anyone we come up against. Our minds are entirely on Friday and Palermo but we will be ready to step things up after the game. Alex Sandro has told us a lot about the passion of Porto’s supporters so we know we are in for a difficult evening over there.”

      "Close to renewal"

      “We are close to an agreement, definitely. My agent is set to arrive in Italy from Argentina in the next few days to finalise the details with Marotta. That is all that is missing, I can’t stress how strong the interest is on my part.”  

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