Freshly back from New Year’s celebrations in Brazil, 2008 has started for Alexandre Pato and it has started in official Rossoneri colors. All the bureaucratic matters concerning the transfer of the Brazilian youngster from Internacional de Porto Alegre have been finalized, the new contract binding him with AC Milan has been presented to Lega Calcio, everything is set and ready. Basically all that’s left is for Pato to take his first steps into San Siro, wearing the Red & Black jersey.
The 5-month wait, from the time Milan officially acquired exclusive rights for Pato’s contract to the time he turned 18 and became eligible (non-EU minors may not be registered in Italy), is over. Or nearly over, but it’s a matter of days now: the official debut date has been set to Sunday January 13, 20:30 CET, when AC Milan will be hosting Napoli at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza “San Siro”. There undoubtedly will be a large contingent of Rossoneri fans eagerly awaiting Pato’s first performance, in the hopes that one of Brazil’s most promising youngsters can deliver them from their slumber of the Serie A. For those who aren’t keeping track, the Rossoneri still haven’t won at home in the Italian league this season.
Another group eagerly awaiting to see “The Duck” deliver, will be AC Milan’s board of directors (the same ones that paid €22m for the transfer fee back in August to bring Pato over from Brazil, not exactly a “peanut investment” as dubbed by Gazzetta dello Sport) and of course, Carlo Ancelotti, who in the past months wasn’t shy on praise for the youngster. “He’s got superstar qualities” said the Milan coach, among other things like allegedly telling Milan boss Silvio Berlusconi that Pato would score 30 goals in 6 months. Mmmmh…
In any case, hypothesizing the anti-Napoli formation the Rossoneri of next week isn’t an easy feat, but it is an almost-certainty Pato will get the thumbs up for a starting role says Gazzetta. It’s already been established he is fully compatible with Antonio Gilardino (practice tests have shown there’s already good teamwork between the two), but whether Carlo Ancelotti is ready to abandon his favorite 4-3-2-1 “Xmas tree” formation is anyone’s guess. If that were to happen, the Rossoneri would probably revert to a 2-striker formation (Pato and Gila) with Kaká right behind them in a playmaking role.
Meanwhile, the Milan staff will be working hard over the next month, in order to bring Pato to tiptop shape for the return of Serie A, after the Winter break. According to Milan sources, Pato “is fast, very resistant physically, and has a great margin of improvement“. Good news for the Rossoneri, who from mid-February to March will have quite a hectic schedule to contend with: recuperating all the missed matches due to their FIFA Club World Cup fixtures, and the double face-off with Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16. We can only wish “Il Diavolo” good luck, or in this case “Boa sorte”.