Jose Mourinho says he was "humble enough to apologise" to referee Antonio Rapuano after accepting he deserved his latest red card in Roma's late 1-1 draw with Torino.

Roma head coach Mourinho was sent to the stands in the 88th minute with his side a goal down for repeatedly protesting decisions made by the official in Sunday's fiery contest.

Mourinho watched on from the Stadio Olimpico stands as Nemanja Matic rescued a point with a 94th-minute goal – Roma's latest at home in the league in 12 years.

The 59-year-old is no stranger to being given his marching orders and did not react kindly to being banished from the sidelines, but he later held his hands up for his actions.

"It was the right decision – my words to the referee deserved a red card," he told DAZN. "I spoke to him after and apologised, but I don’t want to talk about his performance. 

"I was humble enough to apologise, but I will leave his performance and the hypothetical influence on the match to you. 

"I don't want to talk about what we said, that was private. My words deserved a red card, but I will not judge the referee's performance."

Matic's dramatic late leveller came immediately after substitute Paulo Dybala had hit the frame of the goal, while former Torino striker Andrea Belotti missed an injury-time penalty just moments earlier in an exciting end to the contest.

 

Mourinho's side enter the World Cup break seventh in Serie A after winning just one of their past five matches.

The 10 points the Giallorossi have collected from their opening seven home league games this term is their lowest return since the 2005-06 season, when accruing eight.

Roma's disappointing form has coincided with Dybala's month-long absence from the side, with the Argentina international making a difference on his return against Torino.

"There are two games tonight – one until the 70th minute and one after," Mourinho said. "Until the 70th, Roma fans wanted to just go home.

"But in the final 20 minutes we created more, perhaps more than we have done in the last four or five games. Why? Easy, because Dybala came on.

"When you have a player like Paulo and he doesn't play, it's different. How many extra points would we have now if Dybala hadn't been injured? 

"The break is coming up, it will be the right moment for certain players to look at themselves and try a little self-criticism.

"Despite all these problems, we are a united group. A team that misses a penalty at the 92nd minute is usually dead, but not us, we kept going."

Roma host Bologna on their return to action on January 4, before travelling to reigning champions Milan four days later.

Paulo Dybala has overcome injury to take his place in the Argentina squad for the 2022 World Cup.

The Roma forward has not played since the Giallorossi's win against Lecce on October 9 after suffering a thigh problem, though reports had suggested he was close to a return.

That appears to be the case as Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni has named Dybala in his 26-man squad for Qatar, a list headlined by Lionel Messi in what is expected to be his final World Cup.

The 35-year-old has rediscovered his form at Paris Saint-Germain, scoring 12 goals in 18 games this season, and he will be joined in attack by the only Albiceleste player to equal him for goals in qualifying (seven), Lautaro Martinez, as well as Dybala, Angel Di Maria, Joaquin Correa, Julian Alvarez and Nicolas Gonzalez.

Like Dybala, Tottenham centre-back Cristian Romero has recovered from injury in time to make it, with Manchester United's Lisandro Martinez also on the plane.

However, Villarreal midfielder Giovani Los Celso has failed to make the cut after recently sustaining a hamstring injury.

Impressive 21-year-old midfielder Enzo Fernandez earns his place in the squad after a good start to life at Benfica, while Brighton and Hove Albion's Alexis Mac Allister has also been rewarded for his form in the Premier League.

The two-time World Cup winners begin their campaign on November 22 against Saudi Arabia, before facing Mexico and Poland in their other Group C games.

Argentina squad:

Franco Armani (River Plate), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Geronimo Rulli (Villarreal); Marcos Acuna (Sevilla), Juan Foyth (Villarreal), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United), Nahuel Molina (Atletico Madrid), Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica), German Pezzella (Real Betis), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), Nicolas Tagliafico (Lyon); Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid), Enzo Fernandez (Benfica), Alejandro Gomez (Sevilla), Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton and Hove Albion), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen), Leandro Paredes (Juventus), Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis); Julian Alvarez (Manchester City), Joaquin Correa (Inter), Angel Di Maria (Juventus), Paulo Dybala (Roma), Nicolas Gonzalez (Fiorentina), Lautaro Martinez (Inter), Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain).

Jose Mourinho bemoaned Paulo Dybala's absence after Roma slipped to a 1-0 derby defeat against Lazio, but revealed his hope the Argentina international will return before the World Cup.

Felipe Anderson capitalised on an error from Roger Ibanez as Maurizio Sarri's team clinched a crucial win over their arch rivals on Sunday, moving to third in the Serie A table.

While Lazio were without influential duo Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile at the Stadio Olimpico, Roma only managed two shots on target as they toiled in the absence of Dybala – their top goalscorer with five league goals this season.

"We talked about Milinkovic-Savic and Immobile, we didn't talk about Dybala," Mourinho said at a post-match news conference.

"I think he is more important, because he's the one that assists us with goals. When certain players are missing, we go into difficulty."

Dybala has been absent since October 9 after sustaining a hamstring injury, but Mourinho hopes he will return against Torino next Sunday, in what would also be a boost for Argentina ahead of their trip to Qatar.

"Obviously he wants to go to the World Cup, it is difficult to say no to that," Mourinho told DAZN. "If there is a good evolution of his injury, we hope to have him back on Sunday against Torino."

Roma have suffered narrow defeats to several of Serie A's leading lights recently, but Mourinho believes they have not always got what they deserved.

Asked about the Giallorossi's poor record against top opponents, Mourinho added: "Roma lost those games, in my opinion, undeservedly. 

"Atalanta made one shot on goal and won 1-0, Napoli had difficulties like never before and won with a great goal from [Victor] Osimhen, and Lazio won with a half-goal. 

"I think the game they played was the consequence of being 1-0 up, in a low block, compact. In our cultures, it is said that this was a cynical, intelligent game. In England, people would go home after 20 minutes.

"The playing time was definitely very low, the intensity and continuity of the game was very low. We dominated, but there was a lack of creativity."

Jose Mourinho says the warnings against a hectic pre-World Cup schedule went unheeded after Paulo Dybala suffered an injury that has cast doubt over his participation in Qatar.

Roma were dealt a huge blow during Sunday's 2-1 Serie A win over Lecce, with Dybala limping out of the match with a thigh injury immediately after scoring a penalty.

In the aftermath of that victory, Mourinho said Dybala – who has scored five Serie A goals this season – could miss the rest of 2022.

While subsequent reports have suggested four to six weeks may be a more realistic timeframe for Dybala's recovery, even an absence of that length could represent a blow to the attacker's hopes of representing Argentina at the World Cup.

Speaking ahead of Roma's Europa League trip to Real Betis, Mourinho lamented the effects of a congested fixture schedule ahead of the tournament.

He said in a press conference: "It's something we have been talking about for a long time. 

"When we talked about World Cup four or five years ago, this was said. Now we live it and we live the situation. 

"I learned to cry less than I cried before. I learned to live with the reality of things. 

"You can say that you play too much or say that the richer clubs are privileged. There are the rich, the poor and the less rich. 

"The poor play once a week, the rich can play every day by changing players, and the less rich are those most in difficulty because they play as much as the rich, but with less chance to change and I'm living this situation."

Roma suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to Betis last week, and are in need of a victory after taking just three points from their first three games in Group C.

Mourinho called on others to step up in Dybala's absence as he told Sky Sport Italia: "I expect more from the team and even before Dybala's injury, we never played the most creative players all together. 

"Now, without Dybala, it will be even more difficult. But I trust the work and discipline of our game, I'm confident that tomorrow we will be able to make a result."

Jose Mourinho believes Paulo Dybala is unlikely to feature for Roma again this year after the Argentine suffered an injury in Sunday's 2-1 win over Lecce.

Dybala stroked home the winner from the penalty spot after Gabriel Strefezza cancelled out Chris Smalling's sixth-minute opener, finding the net for a third successive Serie A game.

However, the forward began to limp and clutch his left thigh in the immediate aftermath of his goal, and appeared to be in tears on the bench after being withdrawn.

Dybala's return of six goals in 10 appearances for Roma this term is a team-high tally (in all competitions), but Mourinho could now be without the 28-year-old for a lengthy period.

Asked about Dybala's condition after the win, Mourinho told DAZN: "I say bad, but I think very, very bad. 

"I am not a doctor, but in my experience, and after speaking to Paulo, it's unlikely we'll see him this year."

If Dybala is ruled out for a prolonged period, it would also represent a blow for Argentina ahead of the World Cup, with the forward having won 34 senior caps for the Albiceleste.

Meanwhile, despite Roma staying within a point of Serie A's top four with the victory, Mourinho was displeased with their game management after the visitors had captain Morten Hjulmand sent off. 

"There was fatigue, both physical and mental. Playing Thursdays and Sundays is tough," Mourinho said. "When I see Udinese and Atalanta [who drew 2-2 earlier on Sunday], I understand that they don't play midweek. 

"We entered very well, with intensity and ambition. After that it was more difficult because we managed it badly; when you are tired, instead of playing simply you complicate things.

"Today we didn't play well and we won, with Atalanta we played better and we lost [1-0 last month]. We have to manage tiredness better."

Paulo Dybala is "one of the most important signings in Roma's history," according to former Giallorossi striker and head coach Rudi Voller.

The Argentina international has made an impressive start to life in the Italian capital, scoring four goals and providing two assists in seven Serie A appearances since his free transfer from Juventus.

The former Bianconeri forward has also netted twice in the Europa League and his impact has caught the eye of Voller, who scored 68 goals in 198 games for Roma between 1987 and 1992.

"He's one of the most important signings in Roma's history," he told Corriere dello Sport. "The fans were waiting for a big hit, and he arrived. [He is] magnificent, and he is fulfilling expectations.

"I hope he can continue like this and not have any physical problems. If Paulo is physically well, he can be devastating with that exceptional left foot."

Voller, who was also briefly head coach of Roma in 2004, offered words of encouragement to striker Tammy Abraham following his steady start to the campaign.

The England international top-scored for the club last season with 17 goals - a tally only bettered by Ciro Immobile (27), Dusan Vlahovic (24) and Lautaro Martinez (21) in Serie A - but has netted just twice in 10 appearances across all competitions this term.

"He must believe in himself; never stop having faith in his abilities because these moments happen to all strikers, even the strongest ones," Voller added. "Then comes the match when you score a hat-trick and everything changes, especially in your head.

"The important thing is to always remain focused on the tasks and duties, even if he doesn't score, Abraham must continue to work for the team, give everything on the pitch."

Roma welcome Lecce to Stadio Olimpico on Sunday aiming to bounce back from their Europa League defeat by Real Betis in midweek, and Voller believes that Champions League qualification should be the Giallorossi's minimum aim this season.

"The victory against Inter was exciting for the fans and put the team back in a good position in the standings," he said. "They have a very good chance of at least making it to the Champions League spots. 

"The beauty of Italian football is that right now there is no Bayern Munich that is superior to all the others. Here, there are five-six teams that can fight for the Scudetto. 

"Roma must now aim for fourth place, then once they've stabilised and found their balance they'll be able to think about even more important objectives."

Jose Mourinho says "there is no point crying" about Roma's growing injury list, after Paulo Dybala pulled out of Sunday's showdown with Atalanta.

Dybala was injured during the warm-up ahead of the Serie A clash at Stadio Olimpico – the Argentina international sustaining a left flexor issue in his thigh.

Nemanja Matic replaced the former Juventus forward in the Giallorossi's starting line-up, with Lorenzo Pellegrini pushing into a more advanced role. 

Dybala joins the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum (tibia fracture) and Stephan El Shaarawy (muscular) on the injury list, while Rick Karsdorp is expected to miss around six weeks as he prepares to undergo surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Nevertheless, Mourinho insists his side must be ready to deal with these setbacks, and not get despondent.

"The squad is in the best shape possible," he told DAZN. "We were fortunate really to play against 10 men for almost the whole game on Thursday [the 3-0 win over HJK], as that requires less intensity, pressing and running.

"It's tough, but this is football. With the transfer window closed, there's no point crying about it now.

"The season is made up of lots of little problems to deal with. The really big one was Wijnaldum, but Rick will be back in at most two months."

On a brighter note, Nicolo Zaniolo made his Serie A return for the visit of Atalanta, having recovered from a dislocated shoulder.

Mourinho added: "Nico is in good shape, and he's a player really made to start games. He's different to the others."

Jose Mourinho claimed Roma were unlucky in their 4-0 loss at Udinese, insisted Paulo Dybala was the best player on the pitch, and labelled referee Fabio Maresca "perfect" for the hosts' style of play.

Goals from Destiny Udogie, Lazar Samardzic, Roberto Pereyra and Sandi Lovric condemned Roma to their first loss of the campaign on Sunday as Mourinho experienced his heaviest defeat in a Serie A fixture.

Indeed, only once in his managerial career has Mourinho suffered a more comprehensive loss in a domestic league match, going down 5-0 to Pep Guardiola's immense Barcelona side when in charge of Real Madrid in 2010.

Despite the heavy margin of defeat, Roma enjoyed a greater share of possession (56.9 per cent) and recorded more shots (12 to 11) than their hosts, and Mourinho believes defensive errors cost the Giallorossi dearly.

"Today we were unlucky, we gave away two goals which decided the match," he said.

"I'm talking about bad luck because at the start we were going strong with the opportunity created by Dybala, who for me was the best player on the pitch.

"It's clear that after losing 4-0 someone can laugh, but he gave quality, he had character.

"I told the players that when Udinese go ahead, they are good at everything. They are good at defending themselves, managing the timing of the match, going on the counter attack, up to educating ball boys. We don't have this last quality.

"A perfect match for them, a well-deserved victory, it's hard for us but I prefer a 4-0 defeat than four 1-0 defeats."

Mourinho was furious with the decision to deny Roma a penalty when Zeki Celik was bundled over in the area with the scoreline at 1-0, but said that to blame the officials for the defeat would be "ridiculous".

However, the former Chelsea and Manchester United boss could not resist a dig at Maresca, claiming his style of officiating suited the more physical hosts.

"When you lose 4-0, it's ridiculous to talk about the referee," Mourinho said.

"I think it wouldn't even be fair to say that we lost to the referee, we paid for the mistakes we made.

"I don't hide from you that when it's a physical match like this and the first yellow card goes to the artist of the match [Dybala], it's a bit contradictory.

"My principle is always the same, before the matches I never talk about referees, after the match I can say that with him, our feeling is poor.

"But when we saw who he was we realised that he had a perfect feeling with Udinese, for how they play.

"But we didn't lose to the referee, he didn't play a disastrous match, he played a match at his level."

Mourinho was unhappy with criticism of his decision to field captain Lorenzo Pellegrini in a more advanced role than usual, saying: "We have already played with Pellegrini in that position. I was a commentator for a while in England, how easy it is.

"When you sit on a bench, everything becomes more difficult."

Paulo Dybala's fine performances for Roma are good news for Argentina with the 2022 World Cup on the horizon, according to Jose Mourinho.

Two goals from Dybala against Monza on Tuesday – his first for Roma – fired the Giallorossi to the top of the Serie A table with a 3-0 win.

The forward, signed from Juventus in this transfer window, had not scored more than once in a Serie A match since April 2018.

But this brace took Dybala to 100 goals in the competition for his career; he is only the eighth player since 2004-05 to pass 100 goals and 50 assists.

Roma coach Mourinho is working to ensure Dybala remains in top condition, having started all four matches so far this season but been substituted in each of them.

Dybala never started 30 league games in a single season for Juve, too often beset by injury problems that also impacted his international career.

In this form, Dybala will have a key role for Argentina in Qatar in November, so Mourinho is expecting gratitude from Albiceleste coach Lionel Scaloni.

"In the other games, he couldn't quite pull off the things he wanted to at times, but he never showed the wrong attitude," Mourinho said of Dybala after the Monza game. "Great.

"For me, there can be times when a talented player helps his side but he's also a bit isolated from it.

"But with us, Paulo is a great talent who also plays for and with the team. Right now, when it comes to the defensive side of the game, he's doing a great job for us – and that's not something that he was born to do.

"When he came off today, he said to me: 'Boss, if I carried on I would have got my third.' I told him: 'Get it against Udinese instead!'

"It's important to manage him a bit, because he has had a bit of bad luck with injuries in the past and he did not play a huge amount last season. Right now, his levels are improving.

"For us, he’s great, and I can already see what is going to happen in Qatar. Maybe the Argentina coach should offer us a bottle of wine."

Dybala has scored only three goals in 34 caps for Argentina; he has started just one match at a major tournament and was restricted to 77 minutes in 2022 World Cup qualifying.

Jose Mourinho backed Paulo Dybala to make an impact when he returns to Juventus as a Roma player on Saturday, as he praised the Argentina forward's contribution since joining the Giallorossi.

Roma have recorded back-to-back 1-0 wins over Salernitana and Cremonese to start the Serie A season, and Saturday's clash in Turin represents a real test of both sides' Scudetto credentials.

The Giallorossi's acquisition of Dybala, who left Juventus upon the expiration of his contract in July, was regarded as something as a coup after he scored 82 league goals during a seven-year spell in Turin.

That haul places Dybala 10th in Juventus' all-time Serie A goalscoring charts, making him the highest-scoring non-European player in their league history and their fourth-most prolific non-Italian (after John Hansen, David Trezeguet and John Charles).

Asked how Dybala will handle the prospect of returning to his former club, Mourinho said: "It depends on the personality of the individual. For some players coming home is nothing, for others it is difficult. For others it is 50-50. 

"For Paulo I don't know, he has the face of a child but he is not. He has a lot of experience, then the control of his emotions depends on him. 

"From how he worked these days I have not seen anything different. I expect a normal game, maybe with a little more emotion than before."

Asked about Dybala's impact since his arrival, Mourinho added: "For me it is very good. I did not expect more at the moment. In the last two years he has had little continuity. He did not start the pre-season like the others, he arrived late. 

"At the [Stadio] Olimpico playing on that surface is really hard, it's like running on a Portuguese beach! I see him well and with good character."

 

Juventus have won 85 of their 176 Serie A matches against Roma, recording more league victories over the Giallorossi than against any other club, and triumphed 4-3 when the sides last met at the Stadio Olimpico in January.

But Mourinho called for his team to put past meetings behind them, as he declared Roma would not be satisfied with a draw at the Allianz Stadium.

"Playing against a top team is nice, but it is nothing special compared to usual. I have played many times in Turin, tomorrow will be one more. There is no connection with the past," he added.

"First of all, we have to think that every match is an isolated match. This Juve-Roma has nothing to do with the next or the last one. 

"What happened in the past shouldn't affect us. We can prepare the team as best we can, but we always do it. It's not that we do it more with Juve than we did with Cremonese.

"Last year in Turin [a 1-0 defeat in October 2021] we played to win, we played well. Regardless of what happened, I was happy with the attitude, not the result. 

"I expect the same attitude. Roma must try to win. We are not going to play for a draw, we want to win tomorrow. We will go there to win, if we lose then we will lose."

Mourinho has lost his last two matches against Juventus; throughout his entire managerial career, he has only recorded more than two consecutive defeats against a single opponent on one occasion, losing four successive games against Liverpool in the Premier League as Chelsea boss.

Nemanja Matic, not Paulo Dybala, is the signing that will provide the biggest boost to a Roma side who should be looking to push Inter for the Serie A title this season, according to former Giallorossi boss Fabio Capello.

While Roma's sixth-placed finish in Italy's top flight last term was nothing out of the ordinary, Jose Mourinho did lead the club to success in the inaugural Europa Conference League.

Overall, the season provided a solid foundation for Mourinho and Roma to build on, and they have enjoyed a promising transfer window as they prepare for the new campaign.

Georginio Wijnaldum, Mile Svilar and Zeki Celik all add depth to the squad, while Paulo Dybala arrived on a free transfer after his Juventus contract expired – the Argentinian's signing galvanised the fanbase and has been seen as a real statement of intent for the season to come.

Yet while Dybala may have attracted most of the focus, Capello – who spent time at Roma as a player and coach – thinks Matic may be an even shrewder acquisition after the experienced Serbian joined on a free from Manchester United to work under Mourinho for the third time.

Asked if he liked the signing of Dybala for Roma, Capello told Il Mattino: "Sure, who doesn't like him?

"But Mourinho's real shot is there in the middle, and it's Matic. He's impressive, few know how to dam the middle of the field like he does.

"Obviously Roma cannot hide [not play proactively], but I don't think, given the enthusiasm, that they think of doing that."

Roma have not won the Scudetto since the 2000-01 season, which was their first title success in 18 years.

Capello is not getting carried away and suggesting they are the frontrunners, but he does expect it to be the Giallorossi and Milan presenting the biggest challenge to Inter.

"It will be fun. I see a very balanced Serie A, a bit like last year, although the balances may still change based on market operations this month," he continued. "But, for example, Roma is there [as a challenger], with intelligent operations.

"Inter are always a step ahead. Roma and Milan are the ones that seem to me already complete, and that's a plus.

"Juventus live with [Paul] Pogba's injury and there is a risk that he could play with the handbrake pulled due to the injury, fearing he could miss the World Cup in Qatar.

"And also Napoli is there in the running for a place in the Champions League."

Roma begin their campaign away to Salernitana on Sunday.

Fabio Capello has compared Paulo Dybala to Roma legend Francesco Totti but believes the Argentine's new strike partner Tammy Abraham has some way to go before he reaches the level of Gabriel Batistuta.

Capello was in charge of Roma when they last won the Scudetto in the 2000-01 season, with Batistuta and Totti netting a total of 33 Serie A goals (Batistuta 20, Totti 13) as they edged out Juventus in a thrilling title race.

With Jose Mourinho having delivered the Europa Conference League trophy during his first season in the Italian capital last term, hopes are high the Giallorossi could mount a serious domestic challenge this time around.

The acquisitions of Dybala, Georginio Wijnaldum and Nemanja Matic have seen Roma tipped for a title push in some quarters, with Abraham also expected to kick on after scoring 17 goals in his first Serie A campaign.

Capello, who last month said Dybala's arrival from Juventus could shift the balance in Serie A, thinks Roma's new signing could prove as influential as the club's all-time top goalscorer Totti.

"Football evolves all the time," Capello told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "But if it's a game I tell you that the Argentine has the touch of the ball, the ability to find a partner and the ease of scoring that Francesco had."

 

However, Capello says Abraham has plenty of work to do in order to be considered in the same category as Argentine great Batistuta, who scored 30 Serie A goals during a two-and-a-half season spell in Rome between 2000 and 2003.

"Let's take it easy," Capello added. "Gabriel was a professor of the penalty area. The sense of goal he possessed has been had by few players in the world. 

"Abraham is certainly more mobile, but we are on another level for the moment."

Meanwhile, Roma's transfer activity has left Capello believing they are among the favourites to win Serie A in the 2022-23 season, as he claimed only Simone Inzaghi's Inter are clearly superior to Mourinho's team.

"The Giallorossi can no longer hide," he added. "Only Inter, with [Milan] Skriniar, can be superior to them. [Comparisons to] Juve and Milan are already valid."

Roma begin their Serie A campaign with a trip to Salernitana on August 14.

Juventus great Gianluigi Buffon believes Paulo Dybala will benefit from joining Roma over Serie A rivals Inter.

Dybala had been strongly linked with a switch to San Siro after his contract with Juve, where he had spent the past seven seasons, expired.

However, Inter instead re-signed Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea, and the Argentina international then had a choice between Napoli and Roma, eventually opting for the latter on a three-year deal.

Buffon, who spent five seasons playing in the same side as Dybala in Turin, feels his former colleague made the right decision.

"Paulo had the right to choose after his exit from Juventus on a free transfer," Parma goalkeeper Buffon told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"In the past few weeks, Dybala could have gone to Inter, Roma or Napoli and I hoped he would have chosen either of the latter two. I hoped it for his career.

"Paulo needed an emotional shock and I was certain that only Roma and Napoli could have given that to him. I wrote it to him in a message and I am happy to see him at Roma."

 

Dybala has scored 103 goals in 299 outings in his decade in Serie A with Palermo and Juve, with the 22 goals he managed in the 2017-18 campaign his best single-season return.

The 28-year-old joins a Roma side that finished sixth last season but lifted the Europa Conference League trophy in Jose Mourinho's first year at the helm.

That made Roma the first Italian side to win a major European competition since Inter triumphed in the Champions League in 2010, also under Mourinho.

Dybala adds further depth to a squad that already contains the likes of Lorenzo Pellegrini and Tammy Abraham, who is delighted with the transfer coup.

"I think it's a privilege to have added a player that good to our team. It means a lot to the fans, who have received him very well," Abraham said.

"The message appears clear to me: the club is creating a great project and the results are clear."

Paulo Dybala began life as a Roma player by insisting he bore no ill feeling towards Inter once his expected switch to San Siro failed to materialise.

Argentine forward Dybala has joined Roma on a free transfer after his contract at Juventus was allowed to expire, with the 28-year-old confident the capital club are becoming an increasingly powerful force.

Inter appeared to be the option that Dybala would choose after his Juve exit, but Nerazzurri managing director Giuseppe Marotta last week said the club had "no space" and "no need" to do that deal. They have brought in Romelu Lukaku and Henrikh Mkhitaryan during the close season.

"I didn't feel betrayed," Dybala said at a presentation media conference. "Since ending my contract with Juve I spoke to some teams more than others. I have a good relationship with Marotta."

Dybala said Roma general manager Tiago Pinto swayed him towards the Giallorossi, and he expects last season's Europa Conference League trophy triumph to prove a stepping stone to more success.

He said he would not celebrate if he scored in games against Juventus, and refused to speak of a Serie A title challenge – quite justifiably. Roma came home sixth in the league last season and finished 23 points behind champions Milan.

"Roma have won a very important trophy and want to have ambition for the future," Dybala said. "Roma have grown with the coach and the players. Our goal is winning game by game, then later we'll see where we are. Right now there are teams ahead of us for the Scudetto, we have to work to do well.

"I know there is a great desire, but it's too early to talk about it. But I like to win."

So does Jose Mourinho, the Roma head coach who will expect big things from Dybala.

Dybala scored 15 goals and added six assists in 38 games across all competitions last season, a big step in the right direction after a disappointing 2020-21 effort (five goals, three assists in 26 games).

His shot conversion rate of 12.4 per cent was nothing to crow about, however, compared to new Roma team-mate Tammy Abraham, whose rate of 18.18 per cent led to an 18-goal haul.

Now Dybala must put his playmaking attacking skills to work.

"Both Mou and the company showed me seriousness, enthusiasm, awareness," Dybala said at his presentation on Tuesday. "Knowing how Roma are building, I didn't have many doubts about choosing.

"It's up to the coach to decide where I play, wherever is best for the good of the team. I am ready to play wherever he thinks is best. Speaking with Mourinho before moving here was a great pleasure, all the conversations we had were very productive."

Giuseppe Marotta says Inter did not need Paulo Dybala and offered no guarantees Milan Skriniar will stay at San Siro.

Dybala was strongly linked with a move to the Nerazzurri, but this week joined Serie A rivals Roma as a free agent after his Juventus contract expired.

Inter have added firepower by bringing Romelu Lukaku back to the club on loan from Chelsea and playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan also signed after leaving Roma.

With Lautaro Martínez, Edin Dzeko and Joaquin Correa among the other frontmen in Simone Inzaghi's squad, Inter managing director Marotta believes it would have made no sense to snap Dybala up.

He told DAZN: "There has been a lot of talk, I can simply say that he is a serious guy and a great professional, but we have an offensive department of great value.

"There was no space, not because he was not good, but because there was no need."

 

Skriniar has less than a year remaining on his Inter contract and the centre-back is reportedly a target for Paris Saint-Germain.

Marotta says the club will not keep the Slovakia international at all costs. 

He added: "We had this meeting with the fans and we came out even more strengthened, we took great passion from them. There is a faith in our colours which is a dogma, it was not a protest but they were clarifications.

"We told them that on the one hand we have to build a competitive team and on the other we have to keep an eye on the economic-financial balance.

"Skriniar is a very strong player, he doesn't necessarily have to be put on the market. We had some contacts and everything will be evaluated: the fans, however, must remain calm because the team will always be competitive."

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