Pastore proves to be missing attacking link for Argentina
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.
"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.