Pastore: ‘I don’t have the mentality to become No1’

Roma attacker Javier Pastore admitted he ‘never had the mentality’ to become the best but claimed he grew ‘a lot’ as a player at Paris Saint-Germain.

Pastore returned to Serie A ahead of the 2018-19 season but has only managed 30 games since signing for the Giallorossi.

Pastore made his name in Europe at Palermo, where he contributed 16 goals and 16 assists in 82 games and earned a move to PSG, but he has also become known as a player who prefers to leave the grafting to others.

“I never had the mentality to become No1. I play football like I did when I was a kid, to have fun,” he told Argentine outlet TyC Sports.

“They have asked me to help out more in defence and I have always tried to improve my strengths to hide my flaws. I think I’ve managed well.

But he claims his absence in defence has not led to many arguments with his coaches and teammates.

“No, much less with my teammates or coaches. There are 11 players on the pitch, each has his role and helps where he can.

“I don’t ask other to contribute in the attacking play, only that they give me the ball.”

The Argentine returned to Italy after seven years with Paris Saint-Germain and claimed he developed with the experience in France.

“I grew a lot. I played with some icons, with global status. It was nice to share the locker room with many players of this level and to have played seven years for such a club.

“I was the first to arrive with the new owners in 2011 and I have seen how much it has progressed. There have been many changes, always with improvement.”

But PSG, who qualified for the quarter-finals of the Champions League before the break, have struggled to make an impact in Europe.

“In the French League, in recent years, they have been superior to all the other teams. Many times, the games were over at half-time and the pace drops for the rest of the match.

“That’s what is missing in the Champions League games, where you can’t stop for a second. It happens because in France they play against teams that require limited effort.”

Pastore has claimed Neymar works hard to become the protagonist in world football and take over after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

“He wants to be number one and has the chance, he trains a lot. He can win any game on his own if he’s fit.

“He could have given far more than he did. Everyone must be in the right moment in a team that can help you take that leap, which is not easy.

“We are talking about reaching the level of Messi and Cristiano. But he has the potential.”

And he admits he could have done more himself.

“Yes, I think so, many people say so. When I went to Paris, I came from a very positive year at Palermo. I was the leader on the pitch.

“When players like Ibra [Zlatan Ibrahimovic] arrived, who took on a lot of responsibilities within the group, I stopped playing like the star.

“I always had the idea of living, but I never thought about being the best in the world.”

Roma fight for a place in the Champions League this term, trailing Atalanta by three points despite having played one more game, whilst their local rivals Lazio fight for the Scudetto with Juventus.

The Giallorossi player joked that ‘it could happen’ that Juventus were the better team when they face Roma on the last day of the championship.

“It can happen, it can happen,” he joked. “It will depend a lot on how we will sit in the fight for Champions League, but all the games must be won.”

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