Football

Juventus coach Pirlo wants Dybala to stay, parts ways with Higuain

Paulo Dybala will remain at Juventus but fellow Argentine Gonzalo Higuain will not, new coach Andrea Pirlo revealed yesterday, as he vowed to bring joy back to the Italian champions' game.

Former Italy and Juventus star Pirlo took over this month after Maurizio Sarri was sacked after just one season, following the club's Champions League last-16 exit to Lyon.

Despite his lack of coaching experience, Pirlo warned: "I think I'm in the right place at the right time. I want to bring back to Juventus some of that enthusiasm that has been lacking recently."

Dybala, 26, will remain at the heart of the Juventus attack alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, but 32-year-old Higuain's time in Turin is over.

"He was a great champion, a great player but the cycle is over," Pirlo, 41, told his first press conference in Turin. "We looked each other in the eyes, we talked and we made this decision.

"I admire him a lot, but we have decided that the paths will separate."

Higuain joined Juventus in 2016 from Napoli and had loan spells at AC Milan and Chelsea before returning to Turin last season.

Pirlo continued: "Dybala has never been on the market. For me, he is an important player. As soon as he returns, he will be part of the project.

"We have already chatted with Ronaldo. And we will have time to talk about tactics and roles."

Emphasising that the tactical model will not be fixed - "we can play both four and three at the back" - Pirlo said the main objective was to play "with joy".

"To bring enthusiasm, you have to work, talk to the players, make them participate and make them understand our new way of playing, said Pirlo, adding that he was looking for the "desire and cohesion" which had been a part of Antonio Conte's reign from 2011-2014. - AFP

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