Alexandre Rodrigues da Silva, popularly known as Alexandre Pato is a Brazilian footballer who currently plays as a forward for Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian.
The player started out with his youth career at Brazilian side Internacional in the year 2000. After six seasons with the youth team, Pato was handed his senior debut in the year 2006 at the age of 16. In his solitary season with Internacional’s senior side, Pato went on to score 12 goals in 27 appearances, helping the side win the FIFA Club World Cup in 2006.
Pato broke a long-standing record held by the legendary Brazilian forward Pele during the 2006 FIFA Club World Cup as he became the youngest ever player to score in a competition organized by FIFA. Pato was 17 years and 102 days old when he found the back of the net against African club champions Al-Ahly.
A host of European clubs were alerted to his talent and AC Milan were the first to pounce. Pato signed on the dotted line for the Rossoneri in 2007 and would go on to play at the San Siro for five seasons. His transfer was only registered during the January transfer window as Pato had only turned 18 in September 2007, days after the summer transfer period had come to a close.
In his first season with AC Milan, Pato scored 18 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions, endearing himself with the fans. He also earned the Golden Boy and Serie A Young Footballer of the Year awards during his stay with Milan.
His second season at Milan saw him finish as their top goal-scorer for the season with 18 goals. The following season, Pato shined in the Champions League as he scored a second-half brace to help Milan beat Real Madrid 3-2 on October 31. However, Pato suffered a couple of hamstring injuries that kept him out of action in the second half of the 2009-10 season. His first league title with the Milan giants came in the 2010-11 season, a season in which he finished as Milan’s joint top-scorer with 14 goals.
The Brazilian went on to score the fifth fastest Champions League goal in the history of the competition when he hit the opener in a Group game against Barcelona after just 24 seconds at the Camp Nou on September 13, 2011.
Later that season, Pato courted controversy when he refused a transfer to Paris Saint Germain with reports of an affair with Barbara Berlusconi, the club president’s daughter doing the rounds. He suffered a major injury soon afterwards which saw him ruled out for the rest of the season.
After struggling with personal issues and injuries, Pato moved back to Brazil in January 2013 when Corinthians had a 15 million Euro bid accepted by Milan. He scored with his first touch of the ball in Brazil against Oeste. However, the remainder of his stay with Corinthians was rather poor from a sporting sense.
He was loaned to Sao Paulo the following season. In 59 appearances for the club across two seasons, Pato scored 19 goals and managed to remain injury free. That made him an exciting prospect for European clubs once again as the player had proved his mettle in the continent. Chelsea signed him up on a loan deal in January 2016 but Pato would only make a couple of appearances for the Blues, scoring once – a debut goal against Aston Villa.
Villarreal signed Pato on a permanent deal worth 3 million Euros at the beginning of the 2016-17 league season. He scored on his debut for the Yellow Submarine in a 2-1 loss to Monaco in a Champions League playoff game. He would go on to score once more in a total of 14 appearances for Villarreal before being sold to Tianjin Quanjian for just over 15 million GBP in January 2017. He is yet to make his debut for his new employers.