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Paulo Dybala on Argentina's 'hatred' for Cristiano Ronaldo, clarifying Lionel Messi criticism and dealing with coronavirus

Argentine forward was among the first high-profile footballers to contract the virus

Paulo Dybala has revealed he told teammate Cristiano Ronaldo he is "hated" back in Argentina, although the Portuguese superstar has quickly changed his mind.

Juventus forward Dybala is a compatriot and international colleague of Ronaldo's greatest rival, Lionel Messi, and consequently his compatriots are not great fans of the former Real Madrid forward.

However, Dybala has admitted that Ronaldo is different to how he is perceived having spent nearly two seasons together in Turin.

"I said to him: 'Cristiano, in Argentina, we hate you a bit because of your figure, because of how you are, of how you walk'," Dybala said in an interview with the Argentinian Football Association (AFE)."The truth is that, you've surprised me because I've found you to be different."

On Ronaldo's great rival Messi, Dybala used the same interview to clarify comments about his international captain when he was accused of criticising the Barcelona forward after saying he was difficult to play alongside in the Argentina national team.

"I've never intended to criticise a teammate, I simply wanted to improve something that was happening," Dybala said. "I spoke about it with Leo because we're both very similar tactically.

"I didn't have many minutes at the World Cup or the Copa America but, at the same time, I always respected the decisions of the coaches because Argentina is very prestigious."

Dybala was one of the first and most high-profile footballers to contract the coronavirus last month, and the 26-year-old forward opened up on his experience.

"I was coughing a lot, I was tired and I felt cold when I was sleeping at night," said Dybala, who, along with his Juve teammates, has taken a 70 per cent pay cut due to the pandemic. "It was a bit [difficult] to live with that and try not to despair, to be relaxed, try to stay calm and talk to the Juventus doctors."

Updated: April 2, 2020 02:17 PM

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