Ravanelli lauds 'magnificent' Higuain and Dybala

The former Italy international has heaped praise on the pair ahead of the crucial Serie A match between Juventus and Napoli on Saturday


Fabrizio Ravanelli has praised Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala ahead of the top of the table Serie A clash between Juventus and Napoli on Saturday.

Higuain has scored 24 league goals for the Partenopei this term, while Dybala has found the back of the net 14 times in his first campaign with Juve.

And Ravanelli, who has been named as one of Juventus’ 20 greatest ever players by Goal, expects the two strikers to play starring roles when the teams meet.

“They will be the stars of this match,” he told Goal. “They are two magnificent players.

“In the last 16-20 metres Higuain is deadly, a unique striker who knows how to come from every direction and sees the goal as well as anyone.

“He knows how to attack the front and the back post with the same quality, he makes ghastly figures of his markers, he’s very strong athletically, intelligent in conversation with his team-mates and then scores repeatedly.

“He will be a constant danger for the rearguard of Buffon and his colleagues.”

Ravanelli also admitted that Dybala had surprised him since moving from Palermo to Juventus in the summer.

“Dybala has surprised me a lot in the first part of this season,” he continued.  

“I thought he was very good but I could not have believed he would have such a decisive impact on Juventus, blossoming so much in a short space of time.

“And we know how much weight the Juventus shirt carries for a youngster. He has a magic left foot and the numbers speak clearly for themselves: dribbling, wonderful assists for his team-mates, lots of goals and a great ability all across the pitch.

“In short, a complete footballer with plenty of room for improvement.”

Dybala: I'd be happy to just be a little bit like Messi

The Juventus forward believes there are “very few” players who can reach his compatriot’s level and also expressed his admiration for Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain

Juventus forward Paulo Dybala has admitted he would be happy to be “just a little bit like” Lionel Messi.

Dybala’s fine performances for the Serie A champions this season have even seen tipped to become Messi’s successor in the Argentina national team.

But the 22-year-old says it will be “very difficult” to emulate the five-time Ballon d’Or winner and insists he is focusing solely on helping Juventus retain the Scudetto.

“There are very few players who can reach Messi’s level,” Dybala told Corriere dello Sport. “I am always trying to be myself. I try to keep improving by working hard and by being committed.

“It will be very hard to match Messi if you look at everything he has achieved. But I always look to do my best for the team. That’s what I try to do in each game I play.

“I don’t really know Messi yet. He was not part of the national team when I was called up. It will be very difficult to become like Messi. I would already be happy if I became even just a little bit like him.

GOALREAD MORE  | De Laurentiis: I tried to sign Dybala

“The people in Argentina say that I am a bit like Sergio Aguero because of the way I move.”

Dybala has scored 12 goals in Serie A this season and trails only another Argentine, Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain, in the league’s goalscoring charts.

“I am enjoying Gonzalo’s good run of form because he is my compatriot,” Dybala added.

“I admired him when I was called up for the national team. I am aware of what he can achieve and is currently doing. I am happy to see him scoring, but I obviously hope he does not score against us.

“I would not mind having his right foot. The way he turns and shoots, I can learn from that.”

De Laurentiis: I tried to sign Dybala for Napoli

The Partenopei president revealed that he tried to bring in the Argentine forward but also indicated that he wanted to hold onto Gonzalo Higuain

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis admitted that he wanted to sign Juventus forward Paulo Dybala but later opted against making a move for the 22-year-old. 

Dybala has been instrumental in the Old Lady’s recovery from their poor start to the Serie A campaign, netting 12 goals to help the champions climb to within two points of leaders Napoli. 

And with the two sides competing for the Scudetto this season, De Laurentiis has revealed that he once coveted the Bianconeri’s star man, but insisted that he did not want to jeapordise Napoli’s ability to hang onto the in-form Gonzalo Higuain.

“[Higuain and Dybala] are two different players,” the Partenopei president told Sky Sports

“But I’ll hang onto Pipita. I tried to buy Dybala, but I saw that there were several strange situations, particularly abroad, so I left the deal alone. [If Dybala signed for Napoli] then I would have had to sell someone…”

De Laurentiis also revealed his confidence that Napoli can challenge Juventus for the Serie A title this season. 

“Juve have a great club, a great coach, a great team, but we are not second to none,” he said.

Sarri: I wouldn't swap Higuain for Lewandowski

The Argentine is reportedly wanted by Bayern Munich, but his current trainer believes he is even better than the Bavarians’ sharpshooter

Napoli coach Mauricio Sarri believes Gonzalo Higuain is becoming the best striker in the world and would not swap him for Robert Lewandowski.

Higuain has been persistently linked with a move to Bayern Munich despite Lewandowski’s strong goalscoring record at the Allianz Arena.

The Poland international, who took his Bundesliga tally for the season to 17 with a double in the 2-1 win over Hamburg on Friday, admitted this week he was unsure why such rumours had surfaced given his form.

But Sarri stoked the reports by suggesting the Argentina striker is the better of the pair after he scored his 21st Serie A goal in as many appearances in the 4-2 win over Sampdoria on Sunday.

“Higuain is becoming what I always thought he should be – in other words, the best striker in Europe and perhaps the world,” the Napoli coach told Mediaset Premium.

“Higuain is like a dog, devouring any chance he gets. I would not exchange him for anyone, not even Lewandowski.”

Sarri received a two-game Coppa Italia ban following a heated row with Roberto Mancini in the closing stages of their 2-0 defeat to Inter.

On Sunday, he donned a scarf belonging to the Inter boss which was given to him by television show Le Iene in homage to his colleague.

“There’s no point looking at the table now as there’s a long way to go. We are happy with what we are doing. Of course, this week remains bitter because of the error I made in the Coppa Italia,” he said.

“Today I wore Mancini’s scarf because it was a promise I made to Le Iene [TV show] and I was happy to keep it. This was my gesture of peace.”

Lewandowski: Bayern looking to play even better

Bayern Munich have been spending the mid-season break trying to improve with new training methods, says Robert Lewandowski.

Robert Lewandowski says Bayern Munich are attempting new things in training in a bid to improve ahead of the second half of their campaign.

Bayern have spent the mid-season break top of the Bundesliga table, eight points clear of Borussia Dortmund having won 15 of their 17 fixtures so far this term.

However, seemingly not content with their advantage, Lewandowski indicated that the reigning German champions are eager to get even better.

“We have tried some new things in training and sometimes that takes some time. But we know what we can do better,” said the striker.

“We don’t need 80 per cent possession, we have to score. But of course you save energy if you have the ball.

“In front of your own fans, you always want to show how good you are. We have to be patient.”

Lewandowski has been in impressive form this season, scoring 15 Bundesliga goals as the Bavarian giants look to secure a fourth successive league title.

Only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored more than the Poland international in the top flight this term, but he is more intent on winning titles than competing with the Dortmund man.

“I don’t focus on [beating Aubameyang],” added Lewandowski. “The most important thing is, that we win the Bundesliga and the Champions League.”

Gonzalo Higuain has been linked with a move to the Allianz Arena having enjoyed a brilliant season at Napoli, but Lewandowski takes no notice of the rumours.

“This doesn’t bother me. The question is: why should somebody come here, while I am here? I’m prepared for 60 games per season, this is no problem,” he continued.