PAULO DYBALA: WHEN YOU GIVE YOUR ALL, THERE CAN BE NO REGRETS
The Argentinian jewel makes success look easy. Paulo Dybala reveals what he gave up to get it.
A creator for the VRCT campaign, Paulo Dybala chose SACRIFICE for his jacket patch. We caught up with him to hear the story behind it.
There’s a word that stands out when anyone talks or writes about Dybala’s talent: ‘creative’. On the pitch, he makes opportunities out of thin air, sees the connections no one else does. What you’d expect from one of the most valuable football players in Europe – and especially one known as ‘La Joya’, or ‘the jewel’. Today, on a rooftop in Turin, we’re talking about another word, and seeing another facet to football’s diamond.
“I chose the word sacrifice mostly because it defined a very important part of my childhood. From which… well, here I am”, he says. And ‘here’ is good, there’s no denying that. Dybala has no bitterness, no regrets. He adds: “As we always say when I speak with my mum, we struggled a lot to get here. We went through difficult times, and nice times. So, we always try to enjoy it together, with the people around us, my friends, the people I feel the closest to.”
Let’s go back in time, to missing parties and holidays for 6am starts and triple training shifts. And to another life-shaping event, something he doesn’t talk about much now: his father became ill and died when Dybala was 15. The young player got a transfer to be with his family in those final days, then made the difficult decision to return to the team he’d been training with, 100 miles away.
I chose the word sacrifice mostly because it defined a very important part of my childhood. From which… well, here I am.
There were key times in which I had to choose between certain things, and I always chose football.
If you’ve ever tried to apply an adult concept like sacrifice to soft-focus childhood memories, you’ll know it’s a tricky thing to do. At first, Dybala pauses: “I think it was fundamental, when I was a boy, to sacrifice a lot. Which I didn’t realize back then, or perhaps I didn’t see it that way. And many times, my family would remind me… I never thought I’d end up where I am.” He continues: “There were key times in which I had to choose between certain things, and I always chose football.”
Training is always tough, but surely it’s easier now – because he’s reaped the rewards, and they keep on coming. This wasn’t always the case. Back then, Dybala was one of many boys grafting hard to be noticed and catch the eye of a top team. Only a few could make it to the next level. Sacrifice held no certainty.
He says: “That’s when you have to decide what you want. If you really want to play football and leave all those things aside, or if you’d rather spend more time with your friends, at an age in which you begin to discover new things. Well, I always knew my dream was to play football. Not really knowing what could happen, if I could make it or not. But, just as I told you, it was what I wanted.” He adds: “The easy choice was to go out with friends. Because it isn’t a sacrifice at all. That’s what I mean and why I chose that word.”
I think that if you make a sacrifice, you are at peace with yourself because you know you gave it your all, even if things don’t work out.
And not all sacrifices pay off – but that doesn’t mean they have no value. Recalling friends who didn’t make the cut, Dybala says: “Obviously there’s many people who also make all those sacrifices, and more too, only to fall short. But I think that if you make a sacrifice, you are at peace with yourself because you know you gave it your all, even if things don’t work out.”
Maybe you’ve got an ambition – something that’s going to require sacrifices. Dybala says, take the gamble, whatever you’ve got to leave behind. “Sacrificing certain things to follow one’s dreams or getting to where you want to be, it’s very important. Because I think that when you make certain sacrifices, in the end, the result is always more positive than negative.”
We designed the VRCT jacket as a canvas for self-expression, inspired by athletic tradition. Wear it your way, with a custom patch that shows what you stand for. What do you represent?
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