Former Brazilian starlet, Alexandre Pato burst on to the scene in 2007 when he made his debut for AC Milan and after being touted for a bright future, the striker lost his way and now his plying his trade back home in Brazil.
We take a look at the rise and fall of Pato and what happened to a player being touted for greatness.
Born on September 2, 1989, Alexandre Rodrigues da Silva who is better known today under the pseudonym of Pato in reference to his hometown, Pato Branco, stood out among the crowd when it came to football after starring for a modest Brazilian club: SC International.
The young prodigy soon attracted attention from a number of top clubs in Europe after breaking the record of the legendary, Pelé, by becoming the youngest goalscorer at the Club World Cup.
He decided to move to AC Milan in 2007, who did not hesitate in spending €22million to secure the services of a striker who was destined for greatness.
Pato did not take time to adapt to his new surroundings and quickly recouped the investment made by the club as he asserted himself in a squad already well stocked with a Brazilian contingent of Ronaldo, Dida, Kaka, Emerson and Ronaldinho .
His love story with the club lasted for five years as he netted 63 goals in 150 games, but soon his injury issues began to surface as repeated injury issues, coupled with lack of form over time led the club to put him on the transfer market in 2013, with only Corinthians interested in him and eventually signing him for €15million.
Pato had declared that he “wants to return to Milan one day”, but soon it came to light that it was the end of the road for him when it came to football and was the beginning of the end.
The long descent into hell
Despite his troubles back at home, Chelsea took a punt on him in 2015, signing him on a six-month loan deal, and while he scored on debut during a 4-0 win over Aston Villa, he only made one further appearance post which he was soon sent packing.
Spanish club, Villarreal was his next destination, signing him for €3million – though that like the story of his life came to nothing and he soon found himself in the far East, plying his trade in the Chinese Super League (CSL).
Despite two satisfying exercises on a personal level, Alexandre Pato found himself in the midst of existential questioning. Finally, the former Milan striker terminated his contract on March 16, 2019, spending €2.5 million from his pocket to leave China permanently.
Hope to return to Europe one day
Back in the country, Alexandre Pato tried to find his old form by under the colors of Sao Paulo. At almost 31, the Brazilian still has not given up his dreaming of returning to Europe, revealing,
“I would like to return to Europe. (…) Come on, I’m doing well this year, I’m winning the Libertadores and then I’ll come back. In Milan, that would be really good.”
Alexandre Pato in the Serie A 08/09:
• 19 years old
• 2282 minutes
• 36 appearances
• 15 goals
• 6 assists
• third in the league
Such a shame he didn’t live up to his potential. pic.twitter.com/oEobEmLP1y
— ɢᴏᴀᴛɪᴀʟ (@UtdGoatial) May 3, 2020
The former starlet also opened up on his last few tumultuous years with Madrid, revealing that during his first stay in Milan “a small injury ended up becoming a very big thing.” The Brazilian also explains “having lost faith” and “feeling a little lonely after being singled out” .
A case of what might have been for a player who was expected to reach the summit of football and remain there as one of the best.