Lavezzi dreaming big
A scorer in the stunning Champions League win in Valencia, Ezequiel Lavezzi is at the top of his game. He spoke exclusively to beIN Sport about his career, his work ethic and ambitions with PSG.
Lavezzi has wasted no time in establishing himself as a star in Ligue 1, the Argentine winger inspiring PSG's title charge, but it would be wrong to suggest that everything has come easy for him.
Lavezzi chopped and changed clubs on a regular basis as a youngster, and he admits he didn't necessarily share the passion of some of his peers.
"I see football as something that gives me the possibility to live the life I want to live," he said. "I'm not someone who lives only for football."
Lavezzi even considered quitting the game when, as a teenager, he found himself condemned to the reserves at Boca Juniors.
'I'm a bit of a rebel'
"From time to time I thought about stopping," he admitted. "When you're young you don't necessarily think things through. You have all sorts of ideas in your head. When I was at Boca I had a problem with the coach and I stopped playing for four months. I decided to get a job and I started working."
Lavezzi worked briefly as a mechanic before bouncing back with Estudiantes. He soon attracted the attention of Genoa, but preferred to stay in Argentina where he received offers from three clubs: Arsenal, Quilmes and San Lorenzo.
"I wasn't sure so I asked a coach I knew for some advice. He told me to join Arsenal or Quilmes, two clubs renowned for giving young players a chance. But as I'm a bit of a rebel, I chose San Lorenzo."
In Maradona's footsteps
Deep down, Lavezzi had one idea in his head: following in the footsteps of his idol Diego Maradona. So when Napoli came knocking, he didn't hesitate.
"Napoli and Atalanta both wanted me, but I chose Napoli. I accepted to go there for less money simply because I wanted to play for that club. It's the club Maradona played for: it's the one Italian club that means a lot for an Argentine."
Lavezzi may not have enjoyed the same success as Maradona, but he did extremely well over five seasons at Napoli, helping the club shine in the Champions League. And his sparkling form triggered last summer's €27m to move PSG.
'A big step'
"It represents a big step for me. For some time now I've wanted to join a big club, and I think I've done that by joining PSG. I had other offers but I think in the coming years that this team is going to become very important in the world of football."
Lavezzi's early months in the French capital were hampered by injury, but the 27-year-old has been one of PSG's best players since November, scoring eight goals in his last 13 games. While his skill, pace and hard running are inspiring Carlo Ancelotti's side towards a possible treble, they have also taken Lavezzi back in to the Argentina fold.
'Win the World Cup'
"Today, my dream is to win the league with PSG and to go as far as possible in the Champions League. But the ultimate thing for me would be to win the World Cup with Argentina."
Like Maradona, Lavezzi is a reputed party animal, but the PSG ace insists age and fatherhood have calmed him down.
'They'd be surprised'
"I seem to have a certain image, of someone not that serious about the game, but people who think that don't really know me; they'd be surprised," he asserted. "I work very hard every day to improve as a player and I try hard to give my son the best education possible. I try to do my best but I think I have changed a lot."