We usually brag about how positive we are here at Ultra United, but it’s similarly important to highlight issues like these for players where history seems to relentlessly repeat itself …
Right now, stop what you’re doing and answer this: do you remember how good Alexandre Pato was? If so, then congratulations, because you appear to be in the minority of those who do! If not, it’s not really your fault, for the duty of the media to remain impartial and fair in his assessment down the line has been largely forgotten.
Branded as one of those ‘typical South Americans’ who ‘haven’t got the minerals’ to continue their bright development in the larger leagues of the world, much of Pato’s CV has been whittled down to his post-injury crisis in Italy and the relatively underwhelming career which has since spawned from it. But in his pomp, at 100% physical capacity, the bushy-haired Brazilian was nothing short of sensational.
Beginning in his native Brazil with local trophy-hunters Internacional, Alexandre Pato initially joined the club’s academic setup at 11 years of age. All before his inclusion at national development setups led to a fortuitous run of just over ten major club appearances – yielding a goal involvement for one in every two showings.
Even after such a relatively short stint for the club, Pato’s stock had risen pretty highly for two reasons: The manner in which he dispatched his opportunities, and his age at the time. The former was clear for all to see – all with a delightful level of finesse in his choice – often preambled by a burst of pace his youth afforded him.
The latter of which was a bit more clinical, as he was nearing his eighteenth birthday. Where Brazilians are generally granted a work permit to play abroad. We spoke previously about how Fabio and Rafael Da Silva had to wait to get their chance at Manchester United, but when A.C. Milan came calling in 2007, Alexandre Pato’s bags were packed!
Suffice to stay, the pressure was on for Alexandre Pato right from the outset of his time in Milan. Arriving for the princely sum of €24 million, and with the club lacking that pedigree that were used to having up top with Andriy Shevchenko and Filippo Inzaghi, it was quite the weight to pressed upon the young Brazilian’s shoulders.
Having said that, Pato managed to shine under those San Siro lights with his relative ‘unknown quantity’ status serving him well at domestic level. Capable of breezing passed defenders and using his right boot to caress the ball home, it had to take some debilitating injuries to stop his career where it looked destined to go. So no, he’s not a ‘flop’, nor is he someone who didn’t take the game ‘seriously enough’ to enjoy a long-term career at the highest level. He was a bright prospect who was cruelly cut down in his prime. And yes, there’s a big difference.