Brazil­ian back from brink af­ter years of de­cline

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

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.

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