Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi may have dominated the Fifa Ballon d’Or for the past seven years but Paris Saint-Germain playmaker Javier Pastore is the best player in the world, according to Manchester United legend Eric Cantona.
Pastore was signed by the Ligue 1 champions from Palermo for £28.7 million in the summer of 2011 but has found himself in and out of the first XI in the three and a half years since the move, making 102 starts in all competitions.
The 25-year-old also failed to make Alejandro Sabella’s 23-man Argentina squad for last summer’s World Cup in Brazil, but Cantona insists he possesses a special brand of creativity that makes him the world’s best.
“For me, the best player in the world is Javier Pastore,” the Frenchman, in Shanghai ahead of the Laureus Sports Awards, told reporters.
“I watched two PSG games just to see him play… making assists. He has something special. Football is an interactive game and Pastore has something that always surprises you. No special goals, no, but fantastic passes.
“He is the most creative player in the world. I love this kind of player.”
Cantona also claimed it was Catalonia, not Spain, that won the 2010 World Cup due to the influence of Barcelona players in Vicente del Bosque’s side.
“Catalonia won the World Cup,” he added. “Spain won it with 10 Barcelona players in the team (there were actually seven in the starting XI against Netherlands in the final). Spain did not win the World Cup, Catalonia did. Barcelona won it.”
He added: “I’m sure that as soon as the youth set-up from Barcelona and other Spanish teams draw new, good players, Spain will emerge again.”