Breaking Down Alexandre Pato's 1st Appearance for Corinthians

Lucas ParolinCorrespondent IFebruary 6, 2013

Breaking Down Alexandre Pato's 1st Appearance for Corinthians

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    Alexandre Pato played his first minutes as a Corinthians player on Sunday, and the 23-year-old already raised some eyebrows, scoring a goal in only 19 minutes of action.

    The former AC Milan forward was dealt to Corinthians earlier this year for €15 million, the second-most expensive transfer in Brazil’s history.

    Here is the breakdown of Pato’s first appearance for his new club. 

Goalscorer

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    Call it luck, call it fate, but it is unbelievable how Pato manages to score in every single one of his debuts.

    First game for Internacional, back when he was 17-years-old? Goal.

    First game for AC Milan, when the whole world was still waiting to see what this young Brazilian striker was all about? Goal.

    First game for the Brazilian national team? Yes, you guessed it. Goal.

    Naturally, it doesn’t mean much. It’s fun for the media, who get to hype him up, and it’s even more fun for the fans, who will have sweet dreams just imagining what he can do in 90 minutes.

    However, both fans and the media will have to remember that Pato wasn’t exactly brilliant at AC Milan and has struggled with the Seleção in the past.

    In reality, all it shows is that Pato is a goalscorer and a really good finisher, which we already knew. He was given much more space than a forward of his caliber should be able to get (notice how the defender obviously missed his assignment on that play), took a hard shot with his right leg, and finally completed the goal with a precise, one-touch, left-footed strike.

    The goal was exactly what any coach would want to see from a striker: The opportunity presented itself, and he put it in the back of the net.

Tough Competition

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    Because Pato played in Europe, some feel that it will be a matter of time until the young forward becomes a starter at the Brazilian club.

    Sunday’s match proved that will not be an easy task.

    Pato has to compete with the likes of Danilo, Emerson, Jorge Henrique and Douglas, all important figures in Corinthians’ scheme and already crowd-favorites, as they were present for the club’s latest titles.

    Danilo, for one, scored a masterful goal in Sunday’s game, and Jorge Henrique was the main figure in Corinthians’ previous win, scoring a goal and suffering the game-winning penalty kick. Emerson may have missed a penalty kick on Sunday, but his heroics in the 2012 Libertadores will not be soon forgotten, while Douglas entered the game in the second half and pleased coach Tite. 

    Also, don’t forget Renato Augusto, another player acquired by Corinthians in the offseason, who already debuted with an assist.

    In short, Pato will have to score a lot more to gain the starting spot he desires so much.

Not the Number 9

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    Before Pato made his debut as a Corinthians player, another forward had already decided the game for the Timão. 

    Queue Paolo Guerrero and his two almost-identical goals.

    Guerrero had already won over Corinthians’ fans in December, when his header sealed Chelsea’s fate and won the 2012 World Cup of Clubs in Japan for the São Paulo-based team.

    Guerrero is seen in his home country of Peru as one of the premier strikers in the world, and for good reason. He owns Corinthians’ No. 9 shirt and will not let go of it so fast. He showed in Corinthians’ 5-0 win that Pato’s best hopes to be a starter in his new team are to play alongside him.

    That is, not as the No. 9.

    In the Brazilian national team, Pato was getting used to playing inside the box often, serving as the point of reference for the offense. With Guerrero in the team, Pato will have to re-adapt his game to the wings, where he thrived at Internacional and AC Milan.

    That means learning how to come back to defense and attack the other team’s offensive players, which Pato has never done before. 

    For Pato, the choice is to either become a more complete player, rather than the offensive-minded one he is now, or else get really, really acquainted with the bench.