Friday August 24 2012
Water off a Duck’s back

Milan’s Alexandre Pato has been sidelined once again before the 2012-13 Serie A season can even kick off. Dylan Fahy argues his moment may have passed. 

“I really don’t know which saint I should turn to at this stage. He’s been all over, from Germany to America, in a bid to resolve his fragile muscles and he’s been looked at and cured time after time. I’ve even asked my spiritual therapist to pray for him…”

Those were the disheartened words of Milan Health Co-ordinator Jean-Pierre Meersseman in April of this year, after Alexandre Pato limped off just minutes into what was intended to be his comeback from injury against Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals. After prolonged testing, the 22-year-old was ultimately ruled out for the remainder of the Serie A season. With less than a day to go before Italy’s top flight gets back into action, the Brazilian has been sidelined once again.  

It all looked exceptionally promising for Pato going into his fifth season for Milan. Despite not winning the Olympic gold in London, the forward was finally playing consistently and scoring again for Brazil after his latest episode at the Nou Camp had brought his injury tally while in Italy to 15. His return to form, coupled with the fact that imposing strike partner Zlatan Ibrahimovic had made a money move to Paris Saint-Germain, cleared the way for the former Internacional man to lead the line in Massimiliano Allegri’s side this year.

Having only managed a measly 11 appearances in Serie A last term, Pato was going to be the fulcrum up front for Milan with the club’s playmakers finally directing the types of assists better suited to his style than to that of the burly Swede. The mass exodus of both legendary and prominent players from the San Siro had left a void of experience and presented an opportunity for the striker to act as a leader, despite his tender age.

But when whispers from Milan’s purpose built training headquarters just outside Varese began to filter through at Wednesday lunchtime, supporters feared the worst. Pato had clashed with a teammate and had complained of a distinct pain in his left leg. This time the dynamic forward has torn his adductor, as the club later revealed in an official statement on the matter.

The injury has ruled Pato out for a minimum of three weeks, and leaves Milan in a precarious position in light of their substandard transfer campaign. Rossoneri Vice-President Adriano Galliani and his management team have been severely scrutinised for selling the club’s prized assets Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva and not adequately replacing the pair.

Dynamic striker Antonio Cassano subsequently left for city rivals Inter during the week, with an underperforming Giampaolo Pazzini coming through revolving door and their arch rivals also receiving €7m for the transaction. Fans have been pictured holding miniature funerals for the team following the controversial swap deal. If Milan needed Pato at his best then that time was now.

The Brazilian international’s moment may have passed. It looks as if he may never recover from his countless injury issues. When the mega-rich Parisians made an offer for him in January, the only thing that kept him in Milan was his relationship with club owner Silvio Berlusconi’s daughter Barbara. Perhaps a change of scenery is the only option to revitalise a career that is currently falling apart prematurely.   

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Have your say...
Pato is getting injured all the time due to the playing surface. Milan pitch is ghastly. You have heard it here first. The milan doctors need to hire me for consultancy services! The sooner Milan sort out the playing service, the better it will be. Pato cannot run on the uneven pitch.
on the 4th September, 2012 at 6:13am
The only person happy about Pato's injury I bet is Barbara lol
on the 30th August, 2012 at 12:38pm
Well sad to say but I real sorry for the guy as I remember him scoring against a really good barcelona team . It's frustrating for all !! I love juventis however from what I can see Milan have no options but nurse him and keep fingers crossed. However juventus played in series b !! Faith as we need it in Italian football good luck to the guy forza Italia
on the 27th August, 2012 at 5:59pm
When PSG made the offer in January and Milan had a deal for tevez, the majority of people where where moaning about letting Pato go and wasting money on tevez. Now everyone is saying Milan should have done the deal.! Fine for brazil all summer, back at Milan for 2 minutes and he's injured again, should take a hit on the transfer fee and get him off the books. I'd rather have someone with half the ability but can play every week.
on the 25th August, 2012 at 3:23pm
This is stage 1 of the massive con wev been sold by galliani and belusconi. From the moment kaka left 3 years ago, we have been told pato the saviour of milan would never leave and would lead us to great success. Now again they use his name as 1 who will be the diffrence afterselling ibra and silva. Well you explain to me how he is going to save us from the bench?? Sell him- hed save us a headache and give us the money to buy a player than can actually play more than 15mins a season!
on the 25th August, 2012 at 9:57am
@Donato Totaro

The Pato offer was accept by AC Milan, but Pato didn't want to leave, there isn't much you can do about a player that wants to stay and has a long contract.

I may be a Juventus fan but I like to see Italian football do well so in Europe, and AC Milan with a fit Pato could beat a lot (if any side) on their day.

on the 24th August, 2012 at 11:28pm
Guess it'll be make or break season for Pato. If he has another season full of injury and poor form, I can't see him staying. Even if Barbara has her way, the fans will have the last 'laugh'.

Forza Milan!
on the 24th August, 2012 at 8:27pm
I must be the only person who thinks Milan have done a good bit of business swapping Cassano for Pazzini? If Pazzini plays regularly he could be a 20-goal a season striker easily. Cassano on the other hand has never convinced me, he looks immobile and his pace has completely gone. I can see his career dwindling from here.
on the 24th August, 2012 at 8:16pm

U want us use players that doesn't belong to us?
on the 24th August, 2012 at 7:33pm
If there's a significant number of Milan fans who wished Pato was sold in January then that says a lot...

Great talent no doubt about that but when your prized asset turns into a liability, sadly the only option is to let go.

Not exactly the same situation but similar. Zidane & Ibra were Juve's & Inter's MVP's but also they were liabilities. Selling them proved to be the best decisions both clubs made & neither has any regrets.
on the 24th August, 2012 at 6:13pm
Pato is finished, he should have been sold last year and then again recently to PSG. What I really don't understand is how som many people behind the scenes at Milan keep their jobs. Their transfer kitty is useless and it seems as though they toss away money small bits at a time. Zapata may yet prove to be a decent signing but top clubs would never have chosen him. In my view Milan should look as such in a 4-4-2.

Boateng-Muntari-Montolivo -
on the 24th August, 2012 at 5:42pm
The problem from Pato, doesn't stem from his inability to heal, but rather is a general problem through out sports in general. Physical Trainers continue to use old training styles when there are thousands and thousands of studies that indicate, daily training of any kind leads to overtraining, injuries and disease.

Daily training, unless under the influences of performance enhancing drugs or supplements lead to serious injuries. Daily cardiovascular training should be kept to a min not max.
on the 24th August, 2012 at 5:06pm
whether it takes a few weeks,a months, or a couple more years..or even a few more years, Pato will be back. Wait and watch, he is young, he will return and he will shine for Milan. And he will reach a level never seen before banging goals left right and center. Just wait and watch. And all those who say Milan are finished, watch them win the league this season, right at the death.
on the 24th August, 2012 at 3:41pm
Milan shot themselves in the foot by not selling someone who clearly has glass bones.

I think Milan will forever be stuck with him, who wants an injury prone player? Or they need to find a buyer out in Brazil.

LMAO @ 15 injuries. I bet he's one on Milan's highest paid players?
on the 24th August, 2012 at 2:13pm
I'm a Juve fan, but I have to say it's bizarre to see a completely dismantled Milan. Italian football really needs very strong clubs to play in Europe so we can win our ratings back. Milan not selling Pato to PSG in january was a major error. Milan seems to be deconstructing to rebuild a new Milan - which is good - but when Juve did it, they did it when they could splash cash for 'quantity' players. Milan, so far, has only let quality go in droves, with nothing in return.
on the 24th August, 2012 at 1:32pm
They should have sold him last year to PSG for £30 millions and got Tevez but that b**ch of Barbara wouldn't let him go to Paris instead we sold our best players now. To be honest I never liked him even when he was fit
on the 24th August, 2012 at 1:29pm
As a Juve fan, feel sorry for Pato and Milan really. Without any doubt, Pato is one of the most talented and under-achieving strikers in Italian football. I wouldn't however go as far as claiming that his career is over though. I guess he is one of those fragile players who get injured more often than others. Look at Robben at Bayern or Van Persie at Arsenal/Man Utd for example. They do spent some time off the field but perform brilliantly once they are back on it.
on the 24th August, 2012 at 12:13pm
theres no way bakc for him and its sad to say cause he had/had great skills and talent
on the 24th August, 2012 at 12:07pm
Cassano dynamic?

Pato is a write off! If you had a car that kept packing in, would you keep getting it repaired or would you just sell it and move on. Like a dodgy car, Pato's frequent injuries, have/are proving very inconvenient. How can you have any kind of consistency, rhythm, and continuity with a player like this. Milan will probably never get another offer like PSG's. It is a great pity, but he is damaged goods and a liability.
on the 24th August, 2012 at 11:40am
Even know I am an Inter fan I do think it is a massive shame that the world of football is robbed every few months of a footballing tatent such as Pato. The Olympics showed what he could do when fit and I was looking forward to watching him rip through the Juve back line. But like another wonderful attacking Brazilian, Ronaldo, have we already seen the best of Pato now that injuries could force him into a bit part player. I actually really hope not.
on the 24th August, 2012 at 11:19am
Can't but agree with this blog. Milan blew it when they had the chance to offload Pato, who is obviously never going to properly develop his talent. Now he has a psychological hurdle to deal with as well as the physical. EVen when fit again every time he runs he will be fearing an injury. He'll be playing conservatively with the threat of another leg injury in his mind. It's pretty much over for him, I think, unless he goes to a new team and a new environment might help him. But I doubt it.
on the 24th August, 2012 at 11:17am
Unless Barbara is weakening his muscles, I don't understand how a change of scenery is the only option to revitalise his career!
on the 24th August, 2012 at 11:06am

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