Alexandre Pato went from the most exciting teenage soccer prospects at Milan to a Corinthians striker targeted by irate fans at the Brazilian club, so what happened with Pato and why is he now hated by every Corinthians fan?
At 16 years old, Pato signed for Internacional and managed to feature ten times for the team, scoring seven goals. The teen had talent, pace, skill and could finish. After he impressed in his short stint with Internacional, Italian giants AC Milan came in for the Brazilian wonder kid. A £19million bid brought Alexandre Pato to the San Siro as a Rossoneri player. He arrived in Italy amidst a spread of publicity. He was labeled as the most exciting teenage talent in world soccer.
Due to FIFA regulations, the player couldn’t feature until January 2008 after he signed in 2007. On the 4th January 2008, Pato’s transfer to the Red and Blacks was made official and the Brazilian became a Milan player. Pato’s first game came against Napoli. The 18 year old started up front with compatriot Ronaldo, who put two past Napoli. Pato managed to light up the game with his pace and his skill. He terrorized the Partenopei defense from start to finish. Pato grabbed a debut goal when he latched onto a punt from the defense and took it in his stride and coolly slotted it under the advancing goalkeeper. The Rossoneri faithful felt that night that they had an incredible talent on their side. He would score 8 more times before the season was out and had formed an incredible partnership with Ronaldo and Kaka.
The next season, Pato netted 18 goals in all competitions, while former Milan talisman Andriy Shevchenko only managed two after returning from a very unsuccessful time at Chelsea. It was known that not only had Pato inherited the Ukrainian’s number 7 jersey but he had cemented himself as Milan’s future talisman. He featured 36 times during the 2008-09 season. Regrettably, since then, he became hindered with injuries at Milan. Many people began to think that Max Allegri and his fitness staff didn’t nurture him correctly and that they failed to develop his fitness and health correctly, which is why he struggled with injuries. However it’s only a theory that not many agree to.
In 2010, he was named the Serie A Young Player of the Year, the first Brazilian to claim the award, but a lot of people could see that he had major problems with muscular-focused injuries. When he was fit, though, he continued to impress in his Serie A games. He scored 14 goals in 25 appearances in the 2009/10 season but he had a hamstring injury on the same leg three times in the space of 12 months. Everyone was reminded of the spark Pato had when the Rossoneri faced FC Barcelona in the Champions League at the Camp Nou. He left Barca’s defense trailing behind him after a quick turn of pace in the midfield and then burst through the back line to break through on goal, where he calmly slotted the ball through Victor Valdes’ legs. It was a wonderful solo effort that showed everyone watching the amount of talent he has, but the downside remained that injuries were coming more frequently than goals.