Juventus vice-president Pavel Nedved has told Paulo Dybala to sort out his private life and focus on his football after the forward’s form dipped.
Dybala, 24, was dropped for Juve’s 0-0 draw with Inter Milan on Saturday night as coach Massimiliano Allegri reacted to his recent run of just one goal in eight games by recalling Mario Mandzukic and playing him in a three-man attack alongside Gonzalo Higuain and Juan Cuadrado.
Nedved says Dybala, who scored 10 goals in the first six games of the season, is getting too distracted by off-field matters.
“He’s 24 and it’s normal that he has ups and downs, and obviously he’s a player who could get to the very top,” Nedved told Sky Sport Italia. “I’d advise him to focus on his football and make lots of sacrifices in his private life and train to the maximum.
“Allegri treats everybody equally and he’s always done that at Juve, so he’s not been particularly hard on Paulo. He treated Higuain and Mandzukic the same way because he always wants the best from all of his players, and he does right.”
Nedved will hope Dybala heeds his advice and gets back to his best in time for February, when Juve will face Tottenham for a place in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
“We lost to them in a friendly in the summer, but that doesn’t count much,” Nedved said. “Tottenham are very solid and they have a great coach and great potential in attack, while they’ve got a forward we know well in Fernando Llorente.
“We’ve just got to focus on ourselves, though, and I think we’ve got a good chance of going through.”
Juve have reached two of the past three Champions League finals and Nedved said he would “sign for that” again, adding that it is “not easy to get there and not everybody makes it with such frequency.
“But let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” he added. “Let’s get to the quarters first. We’re used to taking things game by game, otherwise you create too much confusion.”
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.