The meaning behind Dybala’s mask

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Just before Christmas 2016, Paulo Dybala missed Juventus’s last penalty in the Italian Super Cup final against Milan. It was still on his mind days later when, watching Gladiator, he had an idea.

From that moment, he has celebrated every goal by putting his hand across his face, thumb and index finger extended to imitate a mask. It has been seen often – there have been 64 goals since, starting with a penalty in the next match – instantly identified as his. It is also, he says, “not just a celebration but a message”.

Dybala reveals the meaning in an interview with The Guardian. The interviewer reports that behind the celebration there is something more meaningful, even if subconsciously.

He says it was inspired by the penalty and the film, that he “didn’t really think about” it as protection or some emotional shield. But in the way he explains it – in everything he says the morning after its latest outing – it is revealed as deeper.

“A lot of the time, you have difficult moments and you have to go out there and fight anyway: not just in football, in life,” he says. “Bad things happen, to me or anyone, difficult times in life, but you have to keep going: put the mask on like gladiators do, and fight.

Every battle. That was the idea I tried to transmit. People liked it, understood it. And that’s pleasing because the messages you send aren’t always interpreted the way you’d like.”

Via The Guardian

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