Juventus’ Paulo Dybala has outlined in an interview with CNN Sport how the Italian club is looking to respond to protests for racial equality and against police brutality following the death of George Floyd.
Dybala shares his views on how fellow players should respond to racist abuse from the stands, saying he supports footballers walking off the pitch if football associations don’t sufficiently deal with the matter.
The 26-year-old also discusses his experiences of sharing the field with players who have suffered racist abuse, including Everton’s Moise Kean last season.
At the time, then Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri and defender Leonardo Bonucci were widely condemned for their comments on the incident. Bonucci said Kean had to take "50-50 of the blame," while Allegri criticised the youngster for his celebration after scoring. Dybala acknowledges those comments were wrong, but believes they are not truly representative of the pair.
Now with a year and a half left on his contract, Dybala reveals to CNN Sport how close he came to leaving Juventus last year, having been linked heavily with a move to Tottenham and Manchester United.
Dybala on whether Juventus will respond with a gesture of solidarity during the ongoing protests:
“We still haven’t really talked about [any show of solidarity] yet. Individually, in between a few teammates, we’ve talked about the issue and what’s going on. But we still haven’t decided on anything we’ll do specifically in regards to that. I think a lot of people have already commented or expressed how they feel.”
Dybala on sharing the field with teammates who are being racially abused:
“It wasn’t easy [for Moise Kean to suffer racist chants against Cagliari]. I’ve lived a lot of racist situations with other Juventus teammates in other stadiums… We’re talking about one of the biggest championships in the world, where millions of people are seeing it and if they see racism and nothing’s done about it, they’ll get emboldened and keep doing it.”
Dybala on comments by Massimiliano Allegri and Leonardo Bonucci in the wake of the racist abuse suffered by Kean:
"At that time, they were not the right words for what was happening. You have to be very cautious when talking about certain things and delivering the right message that you want to say, because often the words are not taken as one really wants to say. Of course both the player and coach can learn from certain things, because I know them so well and I know that they don't have racist thoughts. Perhaps at the time they did not use the words they wanted to say.”
Dybala on how close he came to leaving Juventus last year:
“It was more or less last year at this point, when Juventus did not want to count on me, did not want me to continue playing here… There were some clubs that were interested in me. So, some of their clubs were Manchester United and Tottenham. I think for a long time there was talk. Then, for a moment, Paris Saint Germain also appeared. And well, there were conversations with the clubs. It has been spoken. I did not speak directly to any of them, but there were conversations with the clubs, but my intention at the time was to stay.”
Dybala on how footballers should respond and whether they should be the ones taking action:
“A lot of players are deciding to leave the pitch or not play anymore, and that is the perfect decision for me - because it’s something that shouldn’t happen in a country. If society, or in this case, the Italian FA doesn’t decide to do anything, the players should be the ones to act.”
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