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Football is a powerful weapon – Juventus star Dybala joins Common Goal

By Joe Wright
Paulo Dybala

Turin, July 30: Paulo Dybala hopes to use the "powerful weapon" of football to bring about global change after joining the Common Goal charity initiative.

The Juventus star has followed football figures such as Juan Mata, Jurgen Klopp, Megan Rapinoe, Shinji Kagawa and team-mate Giorgio Chiellini in pledging at least one per cent of his salary.

That money goes into a fund supporting organisations using the game to advance the United Nations' sustainable development goals, such as eradicating poverty.

Dybala believes the scrutiny top-level players attract means "lots of people pay more attention to footballers than they do to presidents" and is keen to use his platform to "change the world in just a small way".

"I've given to charity before but I've always done it anonymously because the purpose is not to get publicity but to help those in need," the Argentina star told the Guardian.

"But I think to be part of this initiative, to be one of 159 people working together [at Common Goal], is important in a different way. We've come together as a group and we want to work as a team in solidarity with people less fortunate than ourselves.

"Sometimes I look at society and I see things that I would like to change. It sounds ridiculous, but I would love to be able to change the world in just a small way.

"The truth is that football is a powerful weapon. For whatever reason, the things we say are heard around the world, and lots of people pay more attention to footballers than they do to presidents and prime ministers and important politicians. I think we have to use the power we are given to send positive messages, and to be strong role models. I believe that if everyone in football came together we could give so much and achieve so much, to help people in need and to fulfil the ambitions of so many children."

Dybala, who is the first high-profile South American player to join the initiative, wants his contribution to help causes in Colombia, Germany, India, Pakistan, Israel, and Rwanda, as well as his homeland.

"I had the good fortune to get where I have, but if it hadn't happened for me I’ve no idea what I would have done. That's what I keep thinking about," said the 26-year-old.

"Many young people who dream of going into football never learn anything else, and they never know about all the alternative paths that might have been there for them. I think education is such a powerful tool for giving people a helping hand. Once a person has an education there is so much they can achieve that might otherwise have been beyond them. Football can help bring people into education, give them a future and the potential to live a full life."

Dybala has just won his fifth Serie A title in a row with Juventus, but his thoughts are now on the Champions League, with Maurizio Sarri's side trailing Lyon 1-0 ahead of the second leg of their last-16 tie.

Should they come through that, it will be destination Lisbon for Juventus, with Portugal's capital hosting a shortened and behind-closed-doors version of the tournament from the quarter-finals onwards.

Dybala described Juventus' feat of winning nine consecutive Italian titles as "incredible" and vowed they would push for a 10th next season, ideally by that stage as European champions.

He said: "It'll be strange to play in the Champions League without fans, and to play just one tie in each round, but first we have to win in Turin. For now, that's all that matters."

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Story first published: Thursday, July 30, 2020, 15:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 30, 2020
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