Former Chelsea and AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato has returned to Sao Paulo after a two-year stay with Chinese side Tianjin Tianhai.
The 29-year-old cancelled his contract with the Asian club earlier this month and had remained a free agent until Sao Paulo decided to bring him back for a second spell, having previously scored 38 goals in 98 games during a two-season loan spell there between 2014-2015.
Pato rejoins Sao Paulo: Five key things to know…
- After failed spells with Chelsea and Villarreal, Pato has found himself in China with Tianjin Quanjian since 2017.
- The Brazil international scored 36 goals in 60 appearances for the Asian club.
- However, he decided to buy out his own contract and has been a free agent since the start of this March.
- Pato has now rejoined Sao Paulo, where he scored 38 goals during a two-year loan spell between 2014-2015.
- The club have revealed his ‘passion for Sao Paulo’ left him with no doubt about returning for a second spell.
Pato has signed a three-year deal, with a section of the club’s official statement reading: “Pato is back to the club, now definitely, with contract until 2022.
“After terminating the contract with Tianjin Tianhai, China’s former Tianjin Quanjian, the striker received proposals from other clubs in Brazil and abroad, but had no doubts in making his choice.
“The passion for São Paulo and the good memories of the previous passage, between 2014 and 2015, spoke louder.”
The full statement can be read on Sao Paulo’s official website.
A career of failed potential and missed chances
After bursting onto the scene with Internacional, Pato was picked up by AC Milan in 2007 and after scoring 57 goals in his first 125 games, became widely touted as one of the most talented forwards in world football.
However, injury and loss of form saw Pato’s reputation fade, with the Brazil international eventually heading back home with Corinthians.
Although he continued to struggle there, he did flourish during a two-season loan spell with Sao Paulo, scoring 38 goals in 98 games, earning him another chance in Europe with a loan move to Chelsea, although he once again struggled, making just two appearances, scoring once.
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Another failed move, this time to Villarreal, followed for the 2016-17 season, with Pato scoring just six goals in 24 games, although he looks to have rediscovered his goalscoring touch with 36 goals in 60 outings during his time in China.
His chance in Europe may be gone, but given that Pato is still only 29, he way well go on to carve out a successful career for himself back in Brazil.