SANKT VEIT AN DER GLAN (Austria) – Translated from la Gazzetta dello Sport At the centre of the world: him, Javier Pastore. From South Africa to Argentina, from Palermo towards new conquests. His last photo is set in Cape Town, hugging Argentina’s now ex-manager Diego Armando Maradona after the match against Germany, like an ideal passing of the torch between giant no. 10’s: “He’s an incredible person. To make my debut in the World Cup aged 20 has been a memorable experience, I now feel stronger inside, ready to lead my team.”
Maradona defined you a “football bad boy”: you didn’t get offended, did you?
“It’s the best compliment he could give me. I’ve been dreaming of this for years. If the person who calls you that is Maradona, it is a different matter. He spoke more to me because I was the youngest.”
And how is it to play with Messi?
“Exciting. During training he taught me some new tricks. We celebrated our birthdays together in South Africa, it’s not true that our team-mates celebrated only his, like it sounds in an interview with one of us (Tevez)”.
President Zamparini refused €25m from Real, what would you have done?
“I can’t buy myself… I’m fond of our President and he’s fond of me: he’s thinking of Palermo and that’s fair.”
But is this going to be your last season in pink and black?
“Everything will come at the right time, I’m happy. I need to do well here to be able to aspire to new big teams.”
Do you think you know Serie A and Italian defenders by now?
“Sometimes the tackling used to annoy me before. I now know when I can play the ball and when I can’t.”
Any new pieces of advice from your former manager from Huracan, Angel Cappa?
“After every match in South Africa he sent me an e-mail with his report and his usual advice: work for the team for three quarters of the match, then do what you like.”
What about Delio Rossi?
“He showed me the way in Italy, with him I grew a lot tactically, he’s right when he says that I’ll have everyone’s eyes on me. It will be harder, but this has got to be my year.”
Are you more intrigued by the Championship or by the Europa League?
“It’s the first time in Europe for me, it’s intriguing. My main aim is to push Palermo up to the first five places in Serie A. We’ve got a quality team, we’re not weak anymore even without Kjaer and Cavani, who are great players nonetheless.”
Will Muñoz, the latest arrival, be able to replace the Dane?
“I know Ezequiel very well, he is very strong, I will help him to settle in.”
Which is the challenge you feel the most: Inter, Milan or Juventus?
“None of these. I want to win the derby with Catania, for ourselves and for the supporters.”
Pastore, in one year your life has changed, not only regarding football…
“I’ve been with a girl from Palermo, Chiara, for six months. She stayed in Argentina with me for two months and for one month in South Africa. We’re good together…”