Porto midfielder Lucho Gonzalez says it is "logical" Javier Pastore is struggling to adapt to French football, and admits his fellow Argentine would shine in Portugal or Spain.
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The 23-year-old, who moved to Paris Saint-Germain for what was then a Ligue 1-record €42 million, has often struggled to justify that price tag since his switch to the Parc des Princes from Palermo in 2011. The talent which was so evident in Sicily has only been seen in frustratingly fleeting glimpses in France, which comes as no surprise to Lucho.
"In France, when a player is bought at a very high price, people don't stop talking about him. Pastore was bought for €42 million, and people think he has to get the ball and dribble round the entire opposing team. That's simply not how things work," said the Argentina international, who joined Marseille from Porto in 2009 for €18 million before returning to his former club in January this year. "He needs a team, and confidence. He likes having the ball at his feet, and it's logical he's suffering given the characteristics of French football, a very physical kind of football."
While the rugged nature of the French game may be tough for Pastore, nicknamed 'El Flaco' (the Skinny One), to handle, the 23-year-old's adaptation has not been helped by PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti either.
Used in a variety of attacking positions, Pastore has been unable to find his place in the side tactically and also, at times, literally with the club's top scorer last season, the Brazilian Nene, often picked ahead of him. Ancelotti even recently admitted he was "disappointed" by Pastore's performances, fuelling speculation the Argentine may leave the French capital.
"Porto or Spain would be ideal for him," Lucho acknowledged. "But he's made a decision. He's an excellent player. But being a foreigner, on whom a lot of money has been spent, creates permanent pressure."