What happened to child prodigy Alexandre Pato?
Alexandre Pato was once a prodigy in world football. However, his peak career faded away at a young age and left many regrets for his fans. On The Players’ Tribune, the Brazilian striker confided about the hidden corners—things that he believes have been misunderstood for many years.
I (Alexandre Pato, Editor) know what you are thinking. I’ve heard people say this for ten years. “What happened to Pato?”, “Why didn’t Pato win the Golden Ball?”, “Why is Pato always injured”
Well, I should have answered these questions a long time ago. There are so many rumors, especially in Milan, that I party too much, I have no desire, and I live in an ephemeral world. But when I wanted to speak up, people told me “You should focus on football”. I was so young then that it was hard to disagree.
Actually, I was just a boy then. So I think it’s time to speak up and clarify many stories. Currently, I am 32 years old, happy, energetic, and don’t hate anyone or anything. If you still want to believe the rumors, I have no intention of changing your mind here. But if you want to hear the truth about what happened, then listen to me.
Passionate about football and bandaged arm
The first thing you have to understand is that I left home very early. I was only 11 years old at the time and not ready to take on the world. I left to pursue my dream, but I was alone and easily lost. God gave me talent. By the time I was 10 years old, I had never played soccer at Field 11 because futsal was more fun. I received a scholarship to a private school. One day, I was playing football in a school tournament, and an international scout asked my father: “Sir, are you going to let your son try out in the 11-man field?”
So I attended the Internacional recruiting session and ended up staying at the Love Hotel. Haha, let me explain this. At that time, of course, we didn’t have much money. My mother couldn’t work because of back pain, so my father had to provide for my brother, sister, and me. Dad worked building highways all day long. Our family still has enough to eat, but at a private school, I couldn’t buy textbooks, so I had to use photocopies.
Myths all around
What about football? Very happy. It didn’t take me long to move from the U15 team to the first team. When I was 17, I participated in the Club World Cup, scored in the semi-finals, and faced Barcelona in the final. That’s when I met Ronaldinho. Oh my god, no more words are needed to describe this man. He’s so magical. But maybe he’s not human anymore. That day, I was no longer a competitor but simply a fan. In the tunnel, I told Ronnie, “Give me your shirt.” I almost didn’t care about the match; when it ended, all I cared about was, “Where is he?” Where is he standing? Everyone ran to find him to get his shirt, but he kept his word. He kept the shirt for me. That’s what Ronnie is like.
You know, the Club World Cup is a big event in Brazil. When we won 1-0, it was the greatest moment in the history of Colorado (Internacional’s nickname). We then drove around Canoas in a fire truck. I held the trophy in my hand, and everyone chanted my name. Seven years ago, I had never played on field 11. Now I am a world champion.
Then I could have gone to Barcelona, Ajax, or Real Madrid. But why did I choose Milan? So let me ask you again: have you ever used the Milan team at that time on PlayStation?
Their lineup back then was truly unbelievable! Kaka, Seedorf, Pirlo, Maldini, Nesta, Gattuso, Shevchenko, and O Fenomeno—the real Ronaldo. I have to play with those people. Excellent squad. At that time, Milan had just won the Champions League, and they were very strong. My mood is like, When is the next flight?
When I landed in Milan, I had to have my eyes checked during a medical exam. Silly me, I pressed my hand so hard on my left eye that when I opened it, I could barely see anything. The doctor drops a few drops of eye medication to dilate the pupils. I walked out of the room as if I were blind and met someone. That’s the great Ancelotti.
I like being noticed. I wanted to be mentioned, but do you know what happened? I started daydreaming too much. Even though I still practiced hard, daydreaming took me too far. In my head, I thought I had won the Golden Ball. I can’t stop; it’s very difficult not to be affected. In addition, I also had to endure a lot of pain to get to that position. So why not enjoy it?
When I won the Golden Boy title in 2009, I didn’t think about the Golden Ball. At that time, I just felt happy. I live in the present, but my head is stuck in the future.
As you get older, you realize what makes you happy. When I left home, I thought football was everything I wanted. I went to Italy, England, Spain, and China. I was in pain, crying, and screaming in pain. I’m always alone.
Maybe I won’t become the best player in the world. But let me say this: I have a great relationship with my family. I am feeling at peace. I have a wife that I love. The way I see it, I have a lot of golden balls. If life were a game, then I would have won.