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Dybala must ignore Messi, Ronaldo comparisons - Allegri

VERONA, Italy, Dec 31, 2017 (BSS/AFP) - Paulo Dybala should avoid worrying about comparisons with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo if he wants to become the best player in the world, said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri Saturday.

The 24-year-old Argentine -- linked with a possible move to Manchester United -- has not hit the heights of last season despite scoring 14 goals in 19 Serie A games including a double in Saturday's 3-1 win at Verona.

Dybala had been on the bench in the previous three games but started on Saturday and ensured the six-time defending Serie A champions won for the first time in Verona since 2001.

"It's important that Paulo found the net again," said Allegri. "After the goal, he started to play better, as he was in a delicate moment where things weren't quite going his way.

"Psychology is everything in football and confidence is key.

"You have to be focused and determined. I think the only advice for Paulo is to think just about his football and his journey, not worrying about comparisons with players like Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

"In the next three years he will be, together with Neymar, the most important player in the world. Today there are Messi and Ronaldo and it is difficult, but his path is that he has to improve physically, technically and mentally."

Blaise Matuidi scored Juventus's earliest goal this season after six minutes, finishing off a Gonzalo Higuain rebound.

The hosts pulled level just before the hour mark when former Juventus player Martin Caceres scored from 20 yards.

Dybala then hit his five-minute double, the first on 72 minutes when Sami Khedira slid a through-ball to Stephan Lichtsteiner with the right back sending a cross into the box to a waiting Dybala.

The Argentine did the second on his own, dribbling through the Verona defence to seal the win which moved Allegri's side to within a point of Napoli at the end of the first half of the season.

"What I hope for the second half of the season is that Juventus stay in the running on all three fronts," said Allegri, who also refused to rule out the chasing pack of Inter Milan, AC Milan and Lazio who all failed to win on Saturday.

"It was important to increase the gap on those behind us and remain close to Napoli," he said.

"The others are not out, there are still lots of games to play. The championship will be resolved in the last games."