On the one hand, Alexandre Pato isn't old — he's only 33. On the other, memories of his footballing career belong to the wizened generations. It's been a decade since his last appearance for Brazil and 12 years since that unforgettable goal against Barcelona.
The intervening period has been marked by some fascinating travels (Chelsea, Villarreal, Tianjin Tianhai, Orlando City) but the results have largely always been the same: flashes of the kid who had the world at his feet in Milan quickly extinguished by whatever part of his body decided to fail him this time.
His period in MLS came to an end last September when another knee operation became necessary, and Pato recovered in Brazil before rejoining São Paulo (his third stint at the club) on May 26.
Pato finally returned to action on July 9 with an appearance off the bench, and on Sunday he did the same against Santos. São Paulo won the match 4-1 with Pato scoring the final goal.
The celebration was an all timer.
Alexandre Pato still has it! pic.twitter.com/Wk7VZRXhqK— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) July 16, 2023
I'd like to think that Pato's lasting motivation, whenever he finds himself back in the treatment room and having to undergo another demanding rehab process, is the dream of getting back out there, scoring a goal and getting to wear the mascot's head.
São Paulo are fourth in the Brasileiro after 15 matches, 14 points behind leaders Botafogo. Santos are in 14th.
There was one other moment from Brazil's top division Sunday night that you should see. Fluminense and Flamengo played to a 0-0 draw at the Maracanã, and Marcelo was on the receiving end of a leg-breaker after humiliating Luiz Araújo with a filthy nutmeg.
Marcelo pulls out the party tricks and embarrassed Luiz Araújo in front of the Maracanã.Luiz Araújo reacts and gets a straight red card. pic.twitter.com/QHkcvizJqL
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) July 16, 2023
I gotta watch the Brasileiro more often.