Javier Pastore has been handed the ultimate show of faith by the PSG hierarchy after being handed the team’s Number 10 shirt.
The Argentine playmaker inherited the number after its former incumbent, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, left the club in the summer. And despite the Swede expressing his wish for the 10 to be handed to Italian midfielder Marco Verretti, both club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and new coach Unai Emery decided to honor Pastore’s own desire for the sacred number, according to L’Equipe.
Pastore’s style of play and favoured position is that of a traditional Number 10 so the significance of the change, and with it, the added responsibility to perform, will not be lost on the playmaker due to the previous, more conventional luminaries to wear the number with distinction in Paris: Ronaldinho; Okocha; Rai.
The symbolic message from the club is clear: It is now your time to step up and shine, fantasista.
Seemingly acknowledging this, Pastore spoke of his desire to fulfil his potential with PSG by rekindling his devastating Palermo partnership with Edinson Cavani now that the Uruguayan will lead the attack, and by playing alongside who he feels is the best midfielder in the world, telling Italian newspaper, Corriere dello Sport:
I had a good first year in Paris. But I have not played with PSG as I did during my second season in Palermo.2015/16 was a difficult season because I’d never hurt as much [with injury] since starting my career.
I hope my 2016/17 season will be better. Edinson has already started to ask me to give him caviar [assist him] everyday! Even at the table during meals![Verratti] for me he’s the strongest midfielder in the world, even though he’s injured. He plays like he’s 35 and has played for Barcelona and Real Madrid.
He does things that other can’t do and he’ll only improve more over the years.
Pastore is contracted to PSG until 2019, but is well aware that failure to live up to his new billing could lead departure, sooner than anticipated – regardless of how comfortable he now feels:
I feel good. I’m perfectly suited to France and they love me. I cannot ask for anything more. Everything is very well: We have a great team and every year we win titles. I cannot ask for anything better.
A return to Serie A? You can never say never. Juventus were interested during my second year at PSG. I wasn’t always playing and the Juventus hierarchy asked about me.
It’s always nice when big clubs want you. In the future you never know, it might be that we get to December and PSG don’t want me anymore. Who knows? But even if I love Italy, I am very happy in Paris.