Feature

Pato on a mission in Monaco

Striker Alexandre Pato, once the most sought after teenage footballer in the world, is heading to Monaco on a mission to help Villarreal turn around a 2-1 deficit and in doing so turn around his own career.

Pato

Source: Getty Images



When he was 17 Pato cost AC Milan $33 million.

Advertisement
Now 26, at an age deemed to be the start of the peak of a footballer’s career, Pato is worth just $4 million.

If Pato can lead Villarreal to victory against Monaco that $4 million will prove to be a shrewd investment, given the winners receive a minimum $17 million for qualifying for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

It’s easy to forget just how good Pato was, or at least how good everyone thought he was going to be.

“I know that the Brazilian press talk about me as the new Pato, I am happy with these comparisons and I am not scared - I am sure of my abilities,” that was Philippe Coutinho expressing his joy at being compared to Pato in 2009.

Their respective careers have taken starkly different paths since 2009, Coutinho has been Liverpool’s best player two seasons running, Pato played two matches last season.

“He is extremely talented. Pato will be here (at the Ballon D’Or ceremony) one day certainly,” that was Kaka in 2009.

What was all the fuss about? This was the Brazilian at 16:



In his first four seasons at Milan he scored 57 goals in 125 matches.



As he hit his early twenties, his body grew, as did his friendship with teammate Ronaldinho – both contributed to his downfall. He grew eight centimeters and added nine kilograms, which led to injuries. Late nights with Ronaldinho hampered his recovery as he only managed 25 matches in his final two season with Milan.

He returned to Brazil where he experienced three years of sporadic success, a period which also saw him dropped from the national team – he hasn’t played for Brazil in three years.

At the start of 2016, Chelsea, inexplicably, brought him in on loan where he played twice and scored once.

Now the man Gazzetta dello Sport christened ‘The King of the Future’ must produce in the present.

"We go to Monaco on a mission," the striker told reporters, "we know it is possible to go through, so we must play really well.

"It is a difficult situation, but we are psyched and will think positively. This is a very special game, and we all know that.

"We need two goals but also be focused in our defending, [Monaco] will play well and it will take everyone pulling together to win."

After a goal in the first leg the signs of rejuvenation are there.



Tomorrow is a chance for the prodigal son to return to Europe’s highest level and fulfill at least some of his incredible potential. 




Share
Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Have a story or comment? Contact Us

Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Watch nowOn Demand
Follow SBS Sport
3 min read
Published 23 August 2016 at 2:13pm
By Nick Stoll