A couple of hired hands from Paris Saint-Germain’s 2017-18 domestic quadruple squad are on their way out. Javier Pastore is heading to AS Roma, while Yuri Berchiche is going to return to Spain and join Athletic Bilbao.
“There were many players at PSG,” said Pastore. “However, the ones who had to play played. The most recent arrivals played. I joined seven years ago and there were many signings made around my position, so it got harder and harder to get regular playing time — especially after a few changes of coach. I could not compete with Neymar. The last coach [Unai Emery] wanted me to play on the left. How could I compete with Neymar? He is a phenomenon. I have come to Rome to feel important — no matter the competition.”
Berchiche’s contract with Bilbao will last four years and will cost the club 20 million euros with PSG earning five million more in bonuses. Paris have an eye towards fixing their current goalkeeper situation by giving Gianluigi Buffon a deserved curtain call as his lengthy career at the position reaches its last legs. Meanwhile, Tim Weah is set for the long haul at PSG and knows that it will not be an easy road to winning the Ballon d’Or with Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar still running the show.
“With my father being the first African player to win the Ballon d’Or, it has pushed the bar really high,” Weah said. “However, the sky is the limit for me — I feel like I can do anything I put my mind to.
“Once I work hard, and that is my goal, to potentially be the first American Ballon d’Or winner. People might say, he is just talking. At the end of the day, though, it is about me putting in the work at training and on the field. Also, I feel that as I am getting older, my level of play is really developing. Now that I am with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, I see what they do at training and I see what they are doing in games — I just try to add that to my game and go out there and show what I can do.”
Paris Saint-Germain start next year in rousing fashion with a trio of matches in Asia. They are the road team against Bayern Munich (7/21) and Arsenal (7/28) and the designated home side against Atletico Madrid (7/30). PSG then face AS Monaco in Shenzhen, China in the Trophee des Champions on Aug. 3 before starting the league season the same way they ended last year, against SM Caen on Aug. 10 at Le Parc des Princes.