Destiny’s Child. The Savior. The Messiah. The One. These are just some of the names that 18 year old Brazilian teen sensation Alexandre Pato have gone by.
Whatever you think of him, there can be no denying that on Sunday, all eyes were on AC Milan and Pato. And the most pressing question that was on everyone’s mind was: Will he start?
Well, he did. And what a debut it was.
Signed from Internacional for â‚¬22 million in August last year, Milan had great hopes for Pato. With Ronaldo struggling with injuries, Gilardino misfiring and Inzaghi unable to deliver on a regular basis, Milan were becoming too reliant on Kaka for goals. Pato was seen as the answer to that problem. Unfortunately, because of his young age, Milan were made to wait until the New Year before Pato could be featured in official matches.
On Sunday, however, the wait was over. Playing against Napoli at the San Siro, Ancelotti boldy chose to start Pato up front. Thereby making Pato one of the youngest players to have ever made it to the Milan senior squad.
Pato started brilliantly. He had good control, moved intelligently, but most of all, he was quick. Looking at him play, it becomes evident why many have likened him to a young Ronaldo. Time and time again, he showed his blistering pace and sublime ball control and you would think its only a matter of time before he scored. It almost felt as if it were inevitable.
In the 74th minute, it finally happened. The debut goal. With a perfect first touch, Pato bought a long ball from Favalli down, skipped past a defender and coolly slotted the ball into the back of the net. Pato shed a tear of joy and San Siro erupted.
At this point, however, it remains to be seen whether or not Pato will live up to the high expectations that are expected of him. Remember, a single game does not make a player. Nevertheless, we must applaud his performance, because as far as debuts go, that was as good as it gets.
The author Kenny maintains a blog called ‘The Meditation Chamber‘.