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AC Milan: Pato expected a beating in Milan training

Alexandre Pato joined AC Milan at a very young age. There, the child prodigy has to assert himself – and gets scared.

In the summer of 2007, Alexandre Pato, another talent from the almost inexhaustible pool of young, up-and-coming players from Brazil, moved to Europe. The freshly crowned Champions League winner cost the then 17-year-old striker 22 million euros – never before has a U17 player paid so much.

The first time in a distant country, the first time away from the family – it is clear that Pato approached his new task at the traditional Italian club with a lot of respect and fear. Pato’s adjustment to Milan was made easier by the fact that there were numerous other Brazilians in the Milan squad at the time: Ronaldo, Cafu, Emerson, Dida, Serginho and Kaka.

Ronaldo Pato Kaka Milan

Getty / Goal

They supported their young compatriot in all walks of life and also had his back in training, as Pato pointed out in a column about his career as a professional The Players Tribune reported.

Pato recalled a training session in which he was struck down by the Geogi Kakha Kaladze, who is known for his tough play. Pato felt sorry for himself but was encouraged by his Brazilian team-mates to do the same: “Be strong! If he kicks you, back down.”

“Me?” was the super talent’s short answer back then, apparently for fear of further fouls or even hits from the captain of the Georgian national team. But neither of these happened.

Pato pushes Kaladze to the ground

“Kaladze got the ball and I jumped into him. He was on the ground and I was like, ‘Shh, what now? He came over to me and I thought he’d knock me out now,” Pato said. His fear was unfounded. Kaladze held out his hand, gave him a thumbs-up and said, “Nice job.” For Pato, he was in that Moment clear: “That was apparently the mentality that they wanted at Milan back then.”

Plagued by many injuries, he only played 117 games in the red and black jersey until 2012. In these he scored 51 goals. This was followed, among other things, by a return to Brazil, a second – unsuccessful – attempt in Europe at FC Villarreal and an engagement in China.

Alexandre Pato Orlando City 2022

Getty Images

Today, the 32-year-old former prodigy plays in the MLS with Orlando City.

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