Buenos Aires - Argentina midfielder Javier Pastore's
contributions to the variety and depth of their attack at the Copa America
includes his ability to link up with Lionel Messi even if that means acting
like a post.
Pastore has slotted into the side that finished runners-up
at the 2014 World Cup and helped them reach a second successive Copa America
final against hosts Chile on Saturday.
Former Argentina midfielder Diego Latorre, now a football
commentator and blog writer, called Pastore "the link that was
missing" to make Gerardo Martino's team fire on all cylinders.
Pastore was, Messi aside, Argentina's stand-out player in
their 6-1 semi-final demolition of Paraguay in a team Martino wants to see
taking the game constantly to the opposition.
Also read: Pastore eyes Champions League title
"I try to give the final pass to (Sergio) Aguero and
(Angel) Di Maria for them to finish," Pastore said.
"With Leo it's different, at speed you're useful as a
post, you just have to pivot (the ball back) when he comes along fast.
"It's good to find each other in some parts of the
field to make the most of (Messi's) speed and game," the Paris St-Germain
midfielder told reporters.
Latorre, who was in the Argentina squad that won the
tournament in Chile in 1991, said Pastore was "the link between creation
and a penetrating attack.
"He raises the potential of the team... He knew how to
mix with those up front and Messi, creating space for him," Latorre wrote
in his column in the Argentine sports daily Ole.
"Not only that, he managed to do what he hadn't before
in this Copa America, break into the box and into a finishing position by
surprise," added Latorre referring to Pastore scoring Argentina's second
goal against the Paraguayans.
Rival defences take their eye off Pastore at their peril
with Latorre saying he can ghost in and out of their consciousness.
"He's not easy to detect because he moves between the
lines and doesn't follow a tactical path: he touches the ball, disappears and
comes back in," Latorre wrote.
Pastore is the kind of player who depends on the faith a
coach puts in him to develop over a series of matches, otherwise he can
oscillate between great performances and poor ones.
Martino, however, has stuck with him and hopes Pastore can
deliver as much or more in the final.For
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