Back in 2016, Chelsea signed a talented Brazilian on loan, tipped to be the next Kaka, Alexandre Pato.
The only problem was his arrival at Stamford Bridge came about nine years after he was hyped as the next big thing, having originally arrived in Europe as a 17-year-old, making the switch from Internacional to AC Milan – then reigning champions of Europe.
By the time he rocked up at Chelsea, he was largely seen as washed up unfulfilled potential, but at the age of 26 he was presented with an opportunity to rekindle his career at the highest level at one of Europe’s top five leagues.
But his short spell with the Blues wasn’t especially successful, and his strange and nomadic career has taken another couple of twists and turns since. Here’s how his career’s panned out, all in all.
The Milan years
There was plenty of hype behind Pato, even as a teenager, when he first arrived in Europe. But his early years in Serie A suggested some justification.
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He looked to be on the right trajectory, finishing his second season (2008-09) with the club as their top scorer with 18 goals in all competitions.
When Kaka moved to Real Madrid for a world-record fee in 2009, many thought the time was right for his understudy to go a step further and take the reins as I Rossoneri’s new talisman.
At that point, Pato was a fully-fledged Brazil international, having won the South American Youth Football Championship with their Under-20s in 2007.
As the mild-mannered, devoutly Christian Kaka left, in came another one of Pato’s Ballon d’Or-winning international team-mates – Ronaldinho, reportedly shown the door by Pep Guardiola at Barcelona due to concerns over his lifestyle and influence on a young Lionel Messi.
As Messi went on to win the Ballon d’Or six times, Pato went down a different path, with constant stories in the Italian press about his…