Pastore Dedicates His Hat-trick To Maradona

Palermo hero Javier Pastore has dedicated his derby day hat-trick over Catania to Argentine compatriot Diego Maradona. Pastore is genuinely blossoming into a future world star and his hat-trick against Catania gave Palermo the bragging rights in Sicily. He had never scored a professional hat-trick before and maybe shouldn’t have been playing in the first place due to his lack of fitness – making his display all the more amazing.

“I have never scored a hat-trick before, not even in my country. I dedicate it to Maradona. When I return to Argentina I will go and find him. He has been too important for me. I cared about playing the derby even though I shouldn’t have been on the pitch because of a knee problem. My thoughts go to my family and the doctors who allowed me win this challenge.” - Javier Pastore

Nothing fuels wild transfer speculation like scoring a hat trick and being in the form of your life. Such is the burden that Javier Pastore must bear at the moment. The 21-year-old Argentine midfielder accounted for all of Palermo's goals in a 3-1 win over rivals Catania Sunday in the Derby di Sicilia, a result that pushed them to seventh in the Serie A table and just three points out of the Champions League zone.

Some may not have heard of Pastore, nicknamed El Flaco, but regular observers of Serie A will know all about him and his special brand of genius and the way he has taken the Italian league by storm. Pastore cut his teeth in his native Argentina with Talleres and Huracan, winning plaudits for his outstanding attacking performances. Soon several big European clubs were clamouring to lure him away, but it was Palermo, who had been first alerted about Pastore through their South American scouts, that signed him in 2009.

Since then, the Argentine has established himself as one of the best players in Serie A due to his speed, willingness to take defenders on one-on-one, his vision, scoring ability and creativity and, most important, his tactical intelligence. Pastore is what you would call a game-breaker, someone who strikes fear into the hearts of opponents every time he touches the ball - just ask Catania. His first season in Serie A was so successful that it prompted Diego Maradona to cap him for Argentina's national team and bring him to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup.

Pastore's rise to fame at Palermo is no accident. The Rosanero have a track record of nurturing and getting the best out of talented players on the verge of greatness - Luca Toni, Amauri, Edinson Cavani, Fabio Gross, and Simon Kjaer all shot to fame during the respective tenures before being sold to bigger clubs.

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