Skip to main content

French football's $56M man: PSG poster boy Pastore

March 1, 2012 -- Updated 1758 GMT (0158 HKT)
Javier Pastore is the most expensive player in French football history after he cost Paris Saint-Germain a fee believed to be $56 million. But Pastore is not the first footballer to have swapped clubs for a hefty price tag. Javier Pastore is the most expensive player in French football history after he cost Paris Saint-Germain a fee believed to be $56 million. But Pastore is not the first footballer to have swapped clubs for a hefty price tag.
HIDE CAPTION
Football's most expensive players
Fernando Torres: Liverpool to Chelsea
Zinedine Zidane: Juventus to Real Madrid
Kaka: AC Milan to Real Madrid
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Inter Milan to Barcelona
Cristiano Ronaldo: Manchester United to Real Madrid
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • PSG's Javier Pastore says he no longer feels the pressure of his record price tag
  • The Argentina international is the most expensive player in French history
  • The 22-year-old would like to be joined at PSG by Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain
  • Pastore reveals Brazilian World Cup winner Leonardo was key to him joining PSG

(CNN) -- Footballers can often crumble under the weight of a hefty price tag. Just ask Fernando Torres, the once-prolific Spain striker who has scored a miserly five goals since joining Chelsea from Liverpool for a British record $80 million in January 2011.

But not all of soccer's high-priced stars struggle with their lofty valuations. Javier Pastore has adapted quickly to life as the poster boy of Qatar Sports Investment's spending spree at French club Paris Saint-Germain.

The Argentina playmaker has found the net 10 times in 25 games since moving to the French capital from Italian club Palermo for a French record transfer fee of €42 million ($56 million) in August 2011.

Pastore's form has been a key factor in PSG's rise to second in the French First Division, with the team currently sat in the final qualifying spot for the European Champions League and on track to return to the competition for the first time since 2004.

Javier Pastore predicts PSG success
Ancelotti eyes PSG success

"There was only pressure at the beginning," the 22-year-old told CNN when asked about the pressure of his transfer fee. "Then the pressure goes away and I didn't feel it anymore.

Paris St-Germain's ambitious president

Ancelotti: PSG can rival Europe's best

Paris Saint-Germain's main players: From left to right, general manager Leonardo, coach Carlo Ancelotti and president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. Paris Saint-Germain's main players: From left to right, general manager Leonardo, coach Carlo Ancelotti and president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
PSG's main players
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
Putting the pride back into PSG Putting the pride back into PSG

"The first few games, yeah, because people talked about it a lot. And if you don't score a goal, you think, 'Oh, they made the wrong decision and should have bought another player,' but it happens. That's football."

Pastore is one part of a trio with Italian connections who have become the face of PSG under new Qatari chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi

Carlo Ancelotti, who won the Champions League as a player and a coach with AC Milan, replaced sacked manager Antoine Kombouare in December.

PSG's director of football Leonardo also has ties to the San Siro. Like former Italy international Ancelotti, the Brazilian World Cup winner has been a player and coach at Milan.

Cash for cups? Qatar's influence spreads

Pastore said the influence of Leonardo, also a midfielder in his playing days, was key to his decision to head to the Parc des Princes, despite reported interest from more prestigious clubs.

"The person who convinced me the most was Leonardo," he said. "He always showed interest in me and was always in touch.

"When the club's project emerged, he was the one who told me about it and encouraged me to come over.

If you don't score a goal, you think, 'Oh, they made the wrong decision and should have bought another player'
Javier Pastore

"There were a lot of good reasons to come in PSG's project and I was a part of them. Luckily, I can tell you that I made the right choice."

Can Qatari cash make PSG a football force?

Pastore has been impressed with the impact former Chelsea manager Ancelotti has had during his first few months with the club.

"Carlo is a big-name manager with lots of experience and was a big change from the previous manager. Tactically, he does things differently since he has been in other countries," said Pastore, who played for Atletico Huracan in his homeland.

"He knows a lot about how they play in each league and that definitely gives us something we didn't have before."

PSG have made no secret of their attempts to attract football's biggest stars, with ambitious bids for Manchester City's Carlos Tevez and Los Angeles Galaxy's David Beckham falling through in January.

AC Milan's Alexandre Pato and Real Madrid's Kaka have also been linked with PSG, and Pastore admitted he would love his fellow Argentina international Gonzalo Higuain to join him too.

I'd like to bring over a player like Higuain, he would be a very important part of our team
Javier Pastore

"I'd like to bring over a player like Higuain," he said of the Real Madrid striker. "He would be a very important part of our team and could make a big difference in France.

"I have a good relationship with him, but we haven't talked. He's on Real Madrid... it's not like he's on a club that's smaller than Paris Saint-Germain."

The two-time French champions are six points ahead ahead of third-placed Lille and one point behind surprise leaders Montpellier following last weekend's dramatic 4-4 draw with Lyon.

Like everyone else involved with the 1996 Cup Winners' Cup holders, Pastore knows that the ultimate aim is for PSG to compete at the top of European football.

"We wanted to be in the qualifying spots and go to the Champions League, so the team could grow and play another competition.

"We obviously want to be French champions because it's within our grasp. But our main goal was always to get to the Champions League."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
The U.S. government recognizes Kosovo, as do most European states, but getting football's ruling bodies to play ball has proved harder.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 1504 GMT (2304 HKT)
National heroes don't always belong to one country. Ask France's World Cup hero Patrick Vieira, who is rediscovering his roots.
CNN's John Sinnott on the quiet Cambridge graduate behind Liverpool's resurgent campaign.
May 30, 2014 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
They are the dispossessed -- stateless, and unrecognized by football's ruling body. But these teams will still play at their own World Cup.
Louis van Gaal will be a perfect fit for Manchester United the club, business and brand, says CNN's Patrick Snell.
May 19, 2014 -- Updated 1924 GMT (0324 HKT)
There's a new force in Spanish football -- and Atletico Madrid's ascendance is sharply contrasted by the fall from power of Barcelona.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Rubber bullets, drones and FBI-trained riot police. Welcome to Brazil's 2014 World Cup -- will protests overshadow football's showpiece event?
May 9, 2014 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
The former England international, who famously kicked a banana off the pitch 27 years ago, says education is the key to tackling racism.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1603 GMT (0003 HKT)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 01: Neymar of Barcelona celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on April 1, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
The Brazilian star's first season in Spain may have spluttered along, but the 22-year-old says he'll be firing on all cylinders at the World Cup.
April 30, 2014 -- Updated 1715 GMT (0115 HKT)
Former Soviet footballer Sergei Baltacha traveled from the land of the hammer and sickle to join The Tractor Boys and in doing so broke new ground.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 0931 GMT (1731 HKT)
Brazil's Dani Alves arrived at Barcelona from Sevilla in 2008 and he has gone on to make over 180 appearances for the club.
Villarreal football supporter who threw a banana at Barcelona's Dani Alves during league match handed a life ban by the La Liga club.
ADVERTISEMENT