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Pirlo plays down Dybala Man Utd move: He's fundamental for Juventus

13:01 GMT 20/12/2020
Dybala Juventus
The Red Devils have been associated with the Argentine player, but the Juve boss says that the attacker is "fundamental" to his plans

Andrea Pirlo insisted Paulo Dybala remains important to him amid continued speculation about the Juventus playmaker's future.

Dybala, 27, is again linked with a move away from the Serie A champions, despite expectations he would extend his stay at Juve, where he is contracted until 2022.

The Argentina international, who has been linked to Manchester United, missed Saturday's 4-0 win over Parma due to a thigh injury.

Asked if Dybala was important to him, Juve coach Pirlo told reporters: "Absolutely. Champions like him are always fundamental in strong teams."

Pirlo is hopeful Dybala may return as soon as Tuesday, when Juventus host Fiorentina.

"I train all the players. Dybala is one of them. He behaviour is great," he said.

"Unfortunately, he's got this little injury, and yesterday he tried to force it, but he was worried he would hurt himself even more. We hope to have him back on Tuesday."

Dybala has not been to the forefront of Juventus' plans this season, however. He has started only 10 games this term and has been pushed into the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo, having netted just two goals this season and not recorded a single assist.

Nevertheless, Pirlo has handed the Argentine the captain's armband on two occasions - a 1-1 draw against Benevento in Seire A and a thumping 4-1 away win over Ferencvaros in the Champions League.

Dybala has been a long-time servent of the Turin club. He joined them in 2015 from Palermo and has since gone on to play 241 for them and has scored 97 goals and chipped in with 38 assists.

He has played down suggestions he could depart.

"So many things that aren't true have been said in relation to my contract," the Argentina international told Sky Sport after the final whistle of last weekend's victory over Genoa.

"My agent was in Turin for a long time and was never called up by the club. It disappoints me to hear talk of invested financial figures.

"It would be better if the truth could be told, because talking about those aspects in this period pits the fans against me, with all the love I have for Juventus." 

Juve are third in the Serie A table, a point behind leaders Milan, who visit Sassuolo on Sunday.