Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

James Dielhenn On October - 18 - 2010

The Resurgence Of The Duck

Since the big-money arrivals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho in the summer, and the ongoing rumours about Ronaldinho’s future, the spotlight has been away from one of Milan’s star performers in recent weeks.

Alexandre Pato, admittedly, has been out of form. It appeared for a while that alongside the likes of Ibrahimovic, Robinho and Ronaldinho, he would no longer have the same impact that he once had for the Rossoneri, especially when he sustained an injury in the second match of the season. Ask Chievo Verona if that is the case, and they will reply that Pato is well and truly back.

On Sunday afternoon, Chievo could have been forgiven for keeping their attention on Milan’s more in-form superstars. Unfortunately for them, it turned out to be the returning 21-year-old who put them to the sword with two excellently finished goals. For his first, Pato readjusted his body as Ibrahimovic’s cross nearly sailed over his head, before connecting with a right-footed volley into the bottom corner. For the second, when Milan were awarded an inconspicuous free-kick, Pato ordered Ibrahimovic to play him in, before clipping it delightfully beyond the goalkeeper.

Milan coach Massimilano Allegri may have to take some credit for Pato’s revival. Milan’s default formation was seemingly 4-3-3, meaning Pato was shifted to the right wing. Against Chievo, ‘the Duck’ played up-front next to Ibrahimovic with Ronaldinho in behind them. Clearly it worked.

Maybe Pato is reaping the benefits of resting throughout the summer. He wouldn’t have said that at the time, after Dunga omitted him from Brazil’s World Cup squad. That disappointment was put behind him somewhat on the opening day of the Serie A season, when he scored two goals in Milan’s 4-0 win over Lecce. But, injury struck, ruling him out for three games, and Milan signed two high-profile forwards in the meantime.

But the international break came at a good time. New Brazil coach Mano Menezes has immediately included Pato in the international reckoning, unlike Dunga, and the national side has benefitted from him being there. In the past fortnight, Pato scored once against Iran in a 3-0 win in Abu Dhabi, before notching another one against Ukraine at Derby County’s Stadium.

So maybe Chievo should have realised that his confidence would be red-hot. By the time they realised, it was too late. Pato was back. Back to the prodigious striker that Chelsea and Barcelona have been linked with bids in the region of 50 million Euros for. Back to the player that could beat Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday night, just like he did last season.

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