Paulo Dybala was “angry” at being left on the bench for Juventus’ draw at Crotone but is again available for the Bianconeri’s Champions League opener against Dynamo Kiev, says head coach Andrea Pirlo.
Argentina forward Dybala has yet to feature in Serie A this season, although he was named in the XI for the side to face Napoli in a match that never took place when their opponents were unable to fulfil the fixture due to travel issues caused by coronavirus restrictions.
Dybala has been contending with a muscular injury and Pirlo had planned to give him some game time in the 1-1 draw against Crotone only for a sending off for Federico Chiesa on debut to complicate his plans.
Reports said Dybala had an angry confrontation with Juve’s chief football officer Fabio Paratici in the tunnel and Pirlo explained his side of events.
“I talked to him [Dybala] yesterday as I do to everyone else. He was a bit angry for not having played in Crotone but we have to remember that he hasn’t played for three months,” Pirlo said.
“He spent 10 days in his room in Argentina taking medicines because he couldn’t train.
“I took him to Crotone to let him do a few minutes but unfortunately there were 10 of us left and I couldn’t add him. He is available and we will see what to do.”
@Pirlo_official: “@PauDybala_JR is coming back from 10 days of inactivity with Argentina. I took him to Crotone for him to get some minutes in his legs but then we went down to 10 men. I spoke to him and he is available.”#DynamoJuve #JuveUCL
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) October 19, 2020
On Tuesday, rookie coach Pirlo will pit his wits against a man set to become the oldest to lead a team in the Champions League in the form of 75-year-old old Mircea Lucescu.
Lucescu is the man who gave a 16-year-old Pirlo his debut at Brescia and later signed him for Inter.
Pirlo spoke fondly of his former boss and revealed he is still in contact with him.
“Lucescu was my first coach, he put me in the first team at the age of 15 and I made my debut at 16,” he added.
“I have a wonderful memory of him as a coach and as a person, sometimes we still talk. I will forever be thankful to him. It will be a good challenge between us.”
Asked how he was feeling ahead of his Champions League debut as a coach, Pirlo replied: “I am calm and serene. I’m looking forward to my first match as a coach in the Champions League.
“In this competition it is essential to start with a win, and we know what we have to do.”