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This is the seaons for Alexandre Pato to prove himself
For all the deserved adulation Ibrahimovic received at Milan, there was always a feeling that his presence in the side left little room for Pato. Indeed, Pato's most memorable moment of last season was his first-minute goal against Barcelona at the Camp Nou, a game for which Ibrahimovic was absent.
With the mercurial Swede having departed, Pato now has a chance to claim the spotlight.
Since his goalscoring debut in the 5-2 demolition of Napoli in 2008, it's been obvious that Pato is extraordinarily talented. In that game, he was accompanied by fellow Brazilian superstars Ronaldo and Kaka, so there was less pressure on "the duck," but now, he is the man to whom Rossoneri fans will look for inspiration.
Pato, perhaps more than any other player, has been the victim of whatever problems are causing the team's constant injuries, but this is not his only issue.
In a winning side, where chances are easy to come by, he's always been a clinical finisher with electric pace, but his work rate and decision-making are often suspect.
If and when he returns, he can stay clear of injury while improving these two aspects of his game, he has the potential to be the breakout star of 2013 for the whole of Europe.
If not, at 23, he's still a valuable asset and Milan may be advised to cash in while they still can.