Paulo Dybala often looks like he's having the time of his life in his Instagram posts and social media projection, but the Juventus star has instead revealed that life as one of the world's top footballers isn't always smooth.
In an interview with the Italian Vanity fair, the Argentine forward nicknamed 'Joya' (Spanish for joy) for his usually smiling face has insisted that he, like many of his fellow professionals, have difficulties away from the pitch.
"When we have the ball at our feet, us players are always extremely happy. What happens outside the pitch, away from cameras, often isn't so beautiful," he said.
"What happens to footballers who reach my same level? Most of the times they are very lonely men."
Dybala also recalled the debut years of his roaring career as he told Vanity Fair: "God gives us a great gift, but that gift needs to be improved. I have seen so many phenomenal players in the youth teams of which people said: 'If only they had the right mindset, they could have been a Maradona or a Messi'.
"I have always worked hard in order to avoid that this could be said of me."
Paulo Dybala: «La vita di un calciatore è la vita di un uomo solo». L'intervista sulla cover del nuovo numero di Vanity Fair in edicola da oggi https://t.co/EtGtQUBMIn— Vanity Fair Italia (@VanityFairIt) December 6, 2017
The 24-year-old also spoke about his father, who died young, and how the pain almost caused him to give up football.
"He died of cancer when I was 15. His death was an incredible pain for me," he said. "In the months leading up to his death, he could no longer come and see me at the club where I was playing, so the team let me go back home for a while to stay with him.
"But six months were not enough for me and I almost quit football. I always think about him and dedicate all my goals to him."
Paulo Dybala today in the dressing room. 樂 pic.twitter.com/6tgVHo3CQs— Forza Juventus (@ForzaJuve2017) December 4, 2017
Dybala's troubles with finding the back of the net in the past few weeks seem rather trivial in comparison with past hurt, but the young forward is confident that he will end his goal drought and has his sights set on a rather lofty career goal.
"When we were kids and would gather around a fire pit during the summer, I would always wish to win the Ballon d'Or," he revealed.
"Winning it would be an important message for many kids and for all those who were born in a small place, far away from the big metropolitan centres.
"It would mean that they can hope to be able to tell a story similar to mine."