When it was announced in May 2022 that after seven seasons at Juventus, Paulo Dybala would be leaving Turin, he instantly became one of the most sought-after free agents of the summer.

I mean, are you surprised?

The Argentine had just played a pivotal role in Juventus’ 36th Scudetto, during a spell where he amassed 115 goals in his 293 appearances.

That, in addition to coming off the back of a successful three-year stint at Palermo (where the-then club president Maurizio Zamparini described Dybala as “the next Sergio Aguero”), before helping La Vecchia Signora to five Serie A titles and four Coppa Italia, it’s pretty easy to see why he a player of Dybala’s caliber was in such high-demand.

So when Dybala joined AS Roma on a free transfer later that summer, he did so carrying a sizable weight of expectation.

“I believe that the road to achieving great goals is always a long one,” Dybala tells Highsnobiety on the set of adidas Football’s Prada collaboration shoot. “I know I have yet to win and achieve many [of my] goals, both trophies and perhaps individual awards, but I am always motivated.”

Since making the move from Turin to Rome, Dybala has excelled. Prior to his arrival, there had been murmurings that the 29-year-old was past his prime, but the Argentine has proved doubters wrong with his best goal return to date (16 goals, 8 assists in 34 appearances) so far this season.

The satisfactions haven’t only come with Jose Mourinho’s team, with Dybala also becoming a World Cup winner in Qatar as a part of Lionel Messi’s Argentina team that saw off France on penalties in the final.

For Dybala — who came on in the historic final to make a late defensive clearance and then score the second penalty in the shoot-out — this victory instantly became one of the most important sporting events in history, on both a personal and professional level.

“To have taken one of the penalties that helped win Argentina the World Cup is obviously something that remains in my memory forever,” he says. “It’s something that, I hope, in the future, my children, my grandchildren and all those who follow will remember with pride.”

“For me it [the final] was one of the most important sporting events in history because of the way it all happened and how the match went — those particular moments in the match: the penalties, the nerves, the adrenaline.”

In truth, that moment had been a long-time coming for Dybala, who first burst onto football’s mainstream when he moved to Palermo from the Argentine second division back in 2012.

From playing football with his siblings in the small town of Laguna Larga (his first club) and his first goal as a professional at the age of 17, to becoming a world champion and winner of multiple league and cup titles, Dybala has come a long way, yet still remains as hungry as ever.

“I know that I have yet to win and achieve many goals, both trophies and perhaps individual awards,” he says, “But I am always motivated to help my teammates, who may not have won a title or who have goals to meet, because that makes it possible for all of us to achieve things.”

“I think that what I have achieved in my career is part of the past now, and the best thing to do is try to look ahead to achieve the goals we have in mind.”

Now part of an AS Roma side bidding for only its second piece of silverware in the past 15 years in this season’s Europa League (where they face Sevilla on May 31), Dybala has the chance to etch his name in Roman folklore.

Despite being in the Italian capital for less than one season, many AS Roma fans are already dubbing Dybala as “The New King of Rome. While it might seem premature, it only epitomizes the effect he’s had on both the club and the city in such a short space of time.

There have been rumors that should AS Roma fail to win the Europa League and thus miss out on Champions League football next season, that Dybala could well be set to depart. Yet, when I probe the striker about what his future holds, he — like footballers are trained to — isn’t giving anything away.

“The truth is that [I think] I’m at a very good age. I feel I’m at the right age to be able to keep reaching goals and keep working, keep growing,” he says.

“Since we talked earlier about goals, I have many in mind that I want to be able to reach in terms of football but also in terms of life, and I believe that the best way to reach them is to work, do my best, [and] fix every detail so that I can always be at 100%.

“I can reach those goals,” he adds. “If not, [I want] to be left in no doubt and [to not] have any regrets about not having done everything to achieve them.”


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