Brazilian back from brink after years of decline
SHANGHAI — Alexandre Pato is rediscovering his love for soccer in China after a prolonged period in the doldrums that saw his career take a drastic nosedive.
The 27-year-old forward smashed in a screamer from distance in Tianjin Quanjian’s 3-0 weekend win over Shanghai Shenhua, for whom bigmoney Argentine import Carlos Tevez has scored just two league goals during an injury-disrupted season.
In contrast, Brazilian Pato has tallied nine goals in 16 Chinese Super League matches — eight in his last 10 — in his debut campaign as he flourishes under the management of Italian World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro.
“Believe in yourself,” Pato tweeted following a win that moved Tianjin up to third, summing up his rejuvenation after an unsettled five years that included a forgettable loan spell at Chelsea.
The CSL may not be on a par with the English Premier League, but Pato is scoring goals, providing assists and earning plaudits.
“I am not surprised by Pato’s performance — we were aware of his ability before we bought him,” Cannavaro said. “He has swiftly blended into the Chinese community.”
Pato was touted as Brazil’s next superstar when, as a gifted 17-year-old, he shone as part of the Internacional side
Brazilian Alexandre Pato celebrates scoring his ninth goal of the season during Tianjin Quanjian’s 3-0 Chinese Super League victory over Shanghai Shenhua on Sunday.