Alexandre Pato has announced his return to Sao Paulo as a free agent after a drastic decline in his once-glittering career.
Taking to his social media handle, Pato announced his return to his former club with a video, captioned, ‘happy to be back.’
Back in 2006, Pato was likened to Brazil football greats like Pele and Ronaldo Nazario. He was then a 16-year-old teenager but was already a promising starlet tipped to dominate the game in the nearest future.
He started his career with Brazil side, internacional, scoring 7 goals in 18 appearances in his one-year stint.
His career peaked when he won the 2006 FIFA Club World Cup in 2006 with European clubs lining up to sign him after his standout performance in the competition.
In 2007, Pato joined AC Milan and continued on his prolific display with the Serie A giants. In his 117 appearances for the club, he scored 51 goals, winning the 2010/11 Serie A title, and the Supercopa Italiana in 2011.
In 2009, Pato won the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and also bagged various individual awards.
His breakthrough seasons with AC Milan lasted for three years from 2007 to 2010, culminating in the Serie A triumph in 2010.
From 2011 to 2013, his career began to take a drastic downturn due to niggling injury problems.
In 2012, he was awarded the Bidone d’oro, a satirical price awarded to the worst-performing Serie A player of a season.
Pato later struggled to breath life back to his football career since the nightmare twist in Italy.
He returned to his country where he played for Corinthians in 2013 and was loaned to Sao Paulo in 2014. He huddled through a deal back to Europe via a loan move to Premier League giants Chelsea in 2015. At Chelsea, he managed just two Premier League appearances for the club with one goal.
He joined La Liga club, Villarreal in 2016, making 14 appearances for the club with 2 goals before securing a move to Chinese Super League where he played for Tianjin Tianhai.
In 2019, Pato returned to Brazil and played for Sao Paulo, making 38 appearances for the club with 8 goals before switching to Orlando City in the MLS a year later.
Pato was a free agent after his one-season spell with Orlando City as the club refused to renew his contract.
He was out of action for months but is now back to active football as he returns for a third spell with Sao Paulo.
He has brokered a seven-month contract with the club that will expire in December, 2023 with one-year extension clause.
Now, the big question is can Pato revive his football career?
One word sums up Pato’s sojourn in football – ‘struggle.’ From the Brazil and AC Milan poster boy to a Chelsea flop then to the Chinese Super League, Pato turned out to be one of the biggest flops in the game, drowning expectations.
It is very unlikely he will revive his career at 33 but it is evident he wants to quit in his homeland when the ovation is high.
Orlando City refused to renew his contract due to his blighted spell with the club. The 33-year-old will hope to have enough game time at Sao Paulo and possibly end his career on a high.
How old is Pato now?
Pato is 33 years old now. He was born on September 2, 1988.
What team is Pato on?
Pato is now a Sao Paulo player. He has brokered a seven-month deal with the club with an option of one-year extension.
How many goals did Pato score for Chelsea?
Pato scored only one goal for Chelsea after he came on as a substitute against Aston Villa and scored from a spotkick.