In Summary

  • Alexandre Pato is rediscovering his love for football in China after a turbulent few years saw his career nosedive before he had even reached his prime.
  • The 27-year-old forward hit a cracker from long distance in Tianjin Quanjian's 3-0 weekend win over Shanghai Shenhua, for whom Carlos Tevez now has just two league goals during an injury-disrupted season.
    In contrast, Brazilian Pato has hit nine goals in 16 Chinese Super League (CSL) matches in his debut campaign — eight in his last 10 — and appears to be flourishing under Italian World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro.

SHANGHAI

Alexandre Pato is rediscovering his love for football in China after a turbulent few years saw his career nosedive before he had even reached his prime.

The 27-year-old forward hit a cracker from long distance in Tianjin Quanjian's 3-0 weekend win over Shanghai Shenhua, for whom Carlos Tevez now has just two league goals during an injury-disrupted season.
In contrast, Brazilian Pato has hit nine goals in 16 Chinese Super League (CSL) matches in his debut campaign — eight in his last 10 — and appears to be flourishing under Italian World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro.

"Believe in yourself," Pato tweeted following a win which moved Tianjin up to third, summing up his rejuvenation after an unsettled five years that included a disastrous loan spell at Chelsea.

Nobody would claim the CSL is on a par with the English Premier League, but Pato is scoring goals again, providing assists and earning plaudits.

"I am not surprised by Pato's performance — we were aware of his ability before we bought him," Cannavaro told reporters. "He has swiftly blended into the Chinese community."

Pato was touted as Brazil's next superstar when, as a twinkle-toed 17-year-old, he shone as part of the Internacional side that beat Barcelona in the 2006 Club World Cup, breaking Pele's record as the youngest scorer in a Fifa competition.

In 2007 he made a big-money move to AC Milan, where 18 goals in 42 matches saw the striker win the Serie A young player of the year award.

He earned his first cap for Brazil in 2008 and had the world at his feet.

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