Former AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato has given an exclusive interview to club’s official Twitch channel. Here are his statements:
“It’s always a pleasure to hear about Milan. I don’t forget Italian, I have friends who speak Italian. Once after a long time in Italy I arrived in Brazil and I had forgotten Portuguese (laughs). A hug to all the fans ”.
On his farewell to Milan in 2013:
“When I arrived at Milan it was love at first sight, when I had to leave I didn’t want to. It will always remain in my heart”.
His debut against Napoli:
“It was a wonderful debut, I also tried to steal a goal from Ronaldo (laughs, ed). Claudio (Lippi, ed) has always been a kind person, he will always remain one of us. The time I had in Milan was wonderful. I always follow Milan, I always listen to you. When I arrived at Milan I was a kid, I was discreet. I understand that there can be criticism in football, I have always had a lot of respect for journalists and for those who talk about football. It’s something that the players have to accept”.
I have regrets about you, you could have been the Milan striker today too:
“In the future why not, no one knows (laughs, ed). I arrived at Milan very early, when you arrive very young you need to have people around you who are close to you. I was alone, there was no one. Once I got out of training I was left alone. I had fun on the pitch, I played as if I were on the street. I was not impressed who I was next to, I had fun with them. Unfortunately I started with injuries, I missed so many things there. I was always alone, when I wanted to talk to someone, say what I felt I could not. When I went back to play the injuries also returned, then I had to go back to Brazil. They were choices, even not mine. I learned afterwards that Milan only wanted to give me on loan, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. I was influenced to return to Brazil. I changed other teams, now I am here today and now I have the head of a 31 year old boy who is very different from that of a 18 year old boy. Then in a Milan like this I would score at least 10 goals (laughs). When you see the kids of today there is always a lot of people by their side, in that period there was no such approach. However, Milan was like a home for me, a family, but there was a moment when I felt alone. It was a great experience, it will always remain in my heart, there are so many things that have happened… It has happened, now I look to the future.”
How did you imagine your debut?
“It’s a match I’ll never forget. I was driving home, thinking what I could say. Today football is very fast, the players’ imagination has been lost. I knew I would always get a clean ball, I knew I had to stay close to the goal. Now it’s very fast, physical. Before I was with the champions, I just had to think about shooting on goal. I liked playing against Barcelona, I liked going fast because they left a lot of space: in the Champions League I saw a hole and I threw myself into it. I wanted to kick next to Valdes, instead it ended up under the legs. Better than that… (laughs, ed)“.
What is coming to you of Milan now?
“It’s a Milan that makes the fans dream, they can dream of finishing first. Obviously it is not easy, competing with clubs that spend absurd amounts is very difficult. Maldini with what he has in hand did a good job, now I see that the fans believe just as many years ago. I can say that from year to year Milan will do better and better”.
What would you tell Leao?
“He is a very important player, he is good. Football is not just about arriving at Milanello, training and going home. You have to focus on your work, if you are in a place like Italy where tactics are important you have to learn, study, watch the games. I see he has all this potential, he can do more. Sometimes when it was Milanello I wanted to go home straight away, football is not like that. The players have a very fast job, two to three hours on the field and then they go home. We must also take care of ourselves in the gym, focus on the head. He has to understand where he is, he has to work a lot on his head, he has to understand what it represents. I am sure he will do very well, and I wish it not only for him but for all the players ”.
Do you remember your first day at Milanello?
“When I arrived at Milanello it was wonderful. But first I went for a test. The doctor asked me to cover my eye with one hand, I put my hand too hard on the eye and I had some problems. The doctor put some eye drops on me, when I went to Milanello to take the first photo I was with my eye practically closed (laughs, ed). Then when you meet a player who made history… Ancelotti at lunch asked everyone to get up to greet me, everyone got up and gave me their hand. I saw the respect of all those great players, it was great. Every new player must respect the others and have the humility to know the others who have made history. When everyone in the group goes in the same direction is the secret, which is why we won the Scudetto. Everyone was playing just to win.”
On the future:
“I was not very happy because I had so many problems in my life, I blocked my contract with San Paolo because I wanted to be happy. I have toured many teams, even in China … I wanted a place that would make me feel happy again, Orlando arrived after 7 months after 7 months that I stopped. The desire to play has returned, the motivation I had as a child. I know what I can do, I can help Orlando a lot. Then we don’t know the future, only God knows”.