Speaking in an extensive, exclusive interview with French newspaper L’Équipe, former PSG attacking midfielder Ezequiel Lavezzi explained his decision to leave the club for China. Extracts.
PSG on Sunday won their fourth consecutive French league title. Do you take any credit?
I do not know… I have left now, I do not know how to respond. But I am happy that PSG are the champions again. The players deserved it. I hope that they will be able to win everything this season.
Thiago Silva dedicated the title-winning victory match against ESTAC Troyes to you. Did you hear about that?
I am staying in contact, I speak a lot with the players: we have a group discussion on WhatsApp. I think that I have left a trace in the dressing room: affection. And that, for a player, is very important. If I said to you “hair” and “Hexagoal”, who do you think about it?
No! With the moustache…
Oh yes! The President!
This year, he is relaxed, I will not be there to annoy him [every time PSG won a title that was presented to them by Frédéric Thiriez, Ezequiel Lavezzi would ruff up the LFP President’s hair].
Did you watch Chelsea vs PSG last Wednesday?
Yes we had a very good match. PSG were clearly better than Chelsea. They deserved to go through. I watched the match in a hotel room in Singapore. 20 days before, I was with them in the dressing room, now, I am in another continent…
Sum up your time at PSG…
It was good, not as good as I was hoping. I never quite managed to be able to give everything that I was capable of. I did not like Ligue 1. I did not find it motivational. That is the truth. But that is not an excuse.
PSG were so strong compared to the other teams… I really did not enjoy those matches. Time passed, I lost my motivation and I lost my place. Aside from that, the Champions League was different. There, I was motivated.
Do you miss Napoli?
Italy was different. You play eight big matches a season in Italy, in France you play two. That makes a big difference.
What will you remember about PSG?
The friends that I left behind and the experience that I had there, a good moment in my life.
Did you ever expect to end up in China?
No, never! I thought I would stay in a European championship, and then I took the decision to come here. Football gives me a great chance to help my entire family and the people that surround me. It is truly gratifying that I do not have words to describe the situation.
What can you tell us about this transfer to China?
I had a look on the internet, I learned about the town… Shanghai or Qinhuangdao were the same [Lavezzi also had offers from these sides]. The first thing, in this decision, was the financial aspect. They are two years of my life that will go quick and that will be a very good experiences.
PSG will be with me for life, but this experience in China too. I need to try to adapt rapidly in order to be settled and to do my work well.
You are now one of the highest paid players in the world. What does that mean to you?
Nothing, honestly. For me, the rankings are not important. What is there, is the ability to assure the future of my family.