Engulfed by a throng of reporters and supporters, Brazilian sensation
Alexandre Pato touched down in Italy yesterday to begin his new
adventure with AC Milan. The Rossoneri parted with around 22 million
euros to prise the 17-year-old from Internacional on Friday, although he
will be ineligible to play in official matches for the reigning European
champions until 3 January.
Following a meteoric rise to celebrity, which included helping
Internacional beat Barcelona to clinch the FIFA Club World Cup Japan
2006 crown on only his third appearance for the club and firing Brazil
to South American U-20 Championship Paraguay 2007 glory, the teenager
became of the object of a number of Old Continent giants' desires. Milan
ultimately won the race for the dashing forward's signature, and
although he was sad to say his goodbyes to O Colorado and his adoring
public in Porto Alegre, he revealed his delight at having signed for
Carlo Ancelotti's side.
"I'm very happy about this new adventure," he told Italian newspaper La
Gazzetta dello Sport. "Milan are the European champions. Knowing that
the directors thought about me and wanted me makes me feel proud,
because I am young and I must still prove everything. But they did not
have any doubt.
"I know that football in Europe is tough. Kaka and Ronaldo will help me
to overcome the difficulties. It pleases me to have spoken to Galliani,
because I had the sensation that Milan wanted me a lot. It was very
important," he added.
Alexandre Pato will move into the apartment previously occupied by his
compatriot Amoroso, who left the 17-time Italian champions in September
2006 to join Corinthians and more recently turned out for Gremio in the
Copa Libertadores 2007 final. Not that he will be short of familiar
faces in the fashion capital of the world. As well as Kaka and Ronaldo,
the Pato Branco native will team up with Dida, Cafu and Serginho in the
AC Milan squad.
Courted by some of the most prestigious clubs across the planet, Pato,
who represented Brazil at the recent FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007,
revealed the opportunity to play alongside his boyhood idol Ronaldo
solidified his desire to join Milan. "I've always watched Ronaldo on
television and dreamed about this," he explained.
"He's my idol. Now I have the chance to get to know him personally, to
be his team-mate, to play alongside him. I'm delighted. Now I will do my
best to help Milan win titles."
AC Milan will begin their quest to wrestle the Italian Serie A trophy
from arch-rivals Inter Milan away at Genoa on 26 August, before they
welcome Fiorentina to the San Siro one week later.