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Dybala stars as Ronaldo, de Ligt sit out Juventus’s alpine opener

Argentine forward Paulo Dybala scored a double in Juventus’s alpine opener

Villar Perosa, Italy | AFP | Paulo Dybala brushed aside speculation over his future with a double for Juventus as Cristiano Ronaldo and new signings Aaron Ramsey and Matthijs de Ligt sat out the club’s traditional alpine curtain raiser on Wednesday.

Nearly 5,000 fans crammed into the “Gaetano Scirea” stadium in Villar Perosa at the foot of the Italian Alps, for the annual friendly between the Juventus first team and youth B side, won 3-1 by the senior players.

Dybala has been linked with a move to Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain, but with banners saying “Stay with us Paolo” the 25-year-old slotted in the first goal from the penalty spot after 14 minutes.

The youth team drew level in the 38th minute when Juventus’s newly-signed Turkish defender Merih Demiral turned into his own net.

But Dybala added his second with the game approaching half-time and Juan Cuadrado scored third from close range before the game ended in the 51st minute with a traditional pitch invasion by fans.

“He is a Juve player, he is a great Juventus player,” sporting director Fabio Paratici said of Dybala.

“What is happening with Dybala is what happens with all the players during a transfer window.

“There are rumours, there are discussions, there are negotiations … The market is open and there is interest, but there are no names who are closer to sale.”

Gianluigi Buffon returned to the Juve goal after his underwhelming season at Paris Saint-Germain, with Gonzalo Higuain also back after his loan to Chelsea last season and coach Maurizio Sarri on the bench after also arriving from London.

– Moment of celebration’ –

Ronaldo was sidelined with a slight thigh problem, along with De Ligt and Welsh international Ramsey.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo happily signed autographs amid a party atmosphere on what was also captain Giorgio Chiellini’s 35th birthday.

Villar Perosa is the fiefdom of the powerful Agnelli family, the founders of Fiat and the owners of Juventus, who bought their family estate there — nicknamed “The Castle” — in the mid-19th century and established the annual pre-season friendly in the town 60 years ago.

On the sidelines were club president Andrea Agnelli and his cousin John Elkann, chairmain of Fiat Chrysler.

“It’s nice that our new coach Maurizio Sarri can feel at home in this environment, where there is a desire to celebrate the Juventus of the past that has done so much and above all to see the Juventus of the future,” said Elkann.

The Turin giants take on Serie C side Triestina on Saturday before beginning their quest for a ninth consecutive league title at Parma on August 24.

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