Paulo Dybala Juventus Lazio Serie AGetty

'Dybala thought he was the new Messi' - Allegri urges departing Juventus star 'to go back to being himself'

Massimiliano Allegri says Paulo Dybala thought he was "the new Lionel Messi" earlier in his Juventus career, and has urged the departing forward "to go back to being himself".

Dybala has spent seven trophy-laden years on Juve's books, scoring 115 goals in 293 appearances to establish himself among Europe's elite attackers.

The 28-year-old will move on to a new challenge when his contract expires on June 30, having bid a tearful goodbye to the Bianconeri faithful on the final day of the 2021-22 Serie A season following failed contract negotiations with the club.

Article continues below

What has Allegri said about Dybala?

Dybala's output in the final third dropped at Juve in the last couple of seasons, with his inconsistent form coinciding with a rough patch for the club.

Allegri thinks the Argentine got too caught up with trying to follow in the footsteps of Paris Saint-Germain star Messi, who he plays with at international level, and has warned him he has to rediscover his own personal identity in order to get back to his best.

The Juve head coach told DAZN: "Dybala has to go back to being himself. There was a moment when he got carried away by being the new Messi. 

"You cannot copy or emulate someone else. Paulo has a lot to give to football, he has extraordinary technical qualities, but he has to go back to focusing on the latter."

Milan, Inter and Napoli 'not superior' to Juve

Juve finished fourth in Serie A this term and failed to win a trophy for the first time in ten years, with Milan clinching the Scudetto ahead of 2020-21 champions Inter.

Allegri won five league titles in his first stint in charge at Allianz Stadium but has faced plenty of criticism since returning to the managerial hot seat last summer.

He does not feel Juve need to make wholesale changes this summer, though, as he added on their final Serie A position: "Milan, Inter and Napoli finished ahead of us in the standings but they were not superior to us.

"We lacked something in terms of character or management."

Allegri went on to reveal he is still eager to return Juve to the top in both domestic and European competition.

"I had set myself the challenge of returning. A challenge that I want to win together with the club and the fans, returning to triumph in Italy and in Europe," he said.

Further reading