Giorgio Chiellini admits that Juventus were overly focused on Cristiano Ronaldo during the Portuguese’s time at the club, with Paulo Dybala being tipped to step up and become the team’s new talisman.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner departed Turin this summer, with an emotional return to Manchester United made by an all-time great who had scored over 100 goals through three seasons in Italy.
Ronaldo had been the centre of attention for Juve throughout his time in Serie A, but Chiellini believes Argentina international Dybala is ready to fill a sizeable void and become the go-to man for attacking inspiration.
Chiellini told DAZN: “When you have a world-class player like Cristiano, you cannot help but use the team to play for him. We must be grateful to Cristiano for all he did during these years at Juventus, but we carry on.
“This will be Paulo Dybala’s team. Over the last couple of years, he lowered his average goals because of Cristiano’s presence, but he is a key player for this team and that is recognised by everyone.”
Dybala is another centurion for the Bianconeri, having hit 101 goals in 256 appearances since joining from Palermo in 2015.
He is yet to sign an extension to a contract that is set to expire next summer, but discussions regarding fresh terms are being held.
Juve could do with him signing that deal and stepping back into Massimiliano Allegri’s side, with just one point taken from three Serie A games this season.
Dybala did not figure in the most recent of those, a 2-1 defeat to Napoli, with Chiellini saying of a testing situation in Turin: “We deserved to get a result here, but all we can do now is work more and talk less.
“We knew there would be difficulties this season, although not perhaps that we’d be in this position after three games.
“We just need to work and become a team. Nonetheless, I feel we deserved at least a draw, but we’ve been through certain situations before. We’ll slowly get back up there.”