Pauleta: 'Everyone loves playing in this stadium'

The legendary ex-Paris Saint-Germain striker told us about his love for the club and of stepping onto the hallowed turf of the Parc des Princes.

Pedro, we imagine it's always special for you to come back here, to a place where you enjoyed so many magical moments?

"Each time I have the chance to come back to this stadium, I feel it, I get goosebumps...I had some magnificent times here. Even when it's empty, the stadium is amazing. But it's true that it's a special stadium anyway. I remember the first time I played here against Paris with Bordeaux. Everyone told me it was a special stadium, that everyone loves playing in this stadium. Even the opponents! And I was then able to have five great years here scoring goals, and it was fantastic. I love this stadium."

It seems that the emotions remain just as strong each time you come back…

"It's always great for me to be here with Paris Saint-Germain, with the fans. I love them. We had a very strong relationship, and it's still intact. I hope it'll continue. These fans, they're the 12th man. The fans have always been behind the team, even in my day when not everything always went well. You saw the fans always pushing the team on. And it's true that that gives the team a lot of strength, to all the players. It's a stadium in which you see all the fans give their support from the first to the last minute, and that's great. That's Paris."

It has to be said that you gave them a lot of goals and sparked a lot of emotions. Though it's always tough to choose, which is your favourite goal?

"I was fortunate to score some good goals here. I really like the one I scored against Nantes in the Coupe de France quarter-final, for example. But it's true that the one against Marseille in 2004 when I lobbed Barthez from out wide...that's still my favourite. That one sticks in the memory of the fans too, as well as mine. It was my first goal against Marseille at the Parc, it was my first Classique. It's just an incredible memory."

Was it a special feeling to score wearing this shirt?

"Always! It's difficult to explain the emotion of a goal, but it's what everyone expects. The matchwinning goal, the celebrations, it's just a sensational feeling. Before coming into the stadium, I get this special feeling. I remember all those moments, all those feelings when I scored, in this stadium, when the fans were singing my name. It's a feeling you just can't explain." 

With 109 goals, only three players have scored more times for the club. How proud are you of that?

"When I look at the three players ahead of me, they're all phenomenal: Edinson Cavani, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kylian Mbappé. I'm just very happy to see myself in that kind of company, it's tremendous, and it means that we have all done something for the club and that's the most important thing. I played in a totally different era, but I'm happy and proud of my career here in Paris."

Isn't it frustrating to see a young player like Kylian Mbappé pass you?

"On the contrary, I'm very happy. I was fortunate to play with Cristiano Ronaldo, and he was only 18 when he made his senior international debut. I had beaten Eusebio's record with Portugal and I thought it was great that he beat mine. It's the same here in Paris. I'm so proud to see Kylian breaking all these records. And I am expecting a lot of Kylian this year. I think he's going to have a great season. He's going to contribute a lot to us. He's in form, he's got huge confidence, he's a phenomenon."