Here is a little something from Football Italia to mull over as you head back into the doldrums of work before another Holiday...
Alexandre Pato has made some strange comments on life at Milan under Massimiliano Allegri amid reports linking the striker with a move away.
Speaking to Il Corriere dello Sport and Il Corriere della Sera, the Brazilian striker discussed a number of topics, from captaining Milan to his relationship with Coach Allegri. However, he began by focusing on how the calendar year has progressed from a personal point of view.
“My 2011 was a very good year - I won my first trophy in Europe, I scored some important goals. It would be a year to remember if I had not had so many injuries.”
The 22-year-old has suffered eight injuries over the course of the past 12 months.
“Every time I have tried a different method to try to find a solution. I’ve never been afraid, even after the injury in September. I thought, ‘I will return slowly, only when I am 100 per cent’.
“I’ve always done double training sessions, arriving at Milanello early each morning. I have worked more and more to return better than before each time.”
Pato was pricklier with the follow-up question that suggested his form since returning from his latest injury has not been better.
“I have scored two goals in three games. At Bologna I did not play well but then neither did the rest of the team. It is said that you win and lose together, no?
“We always talk about me because I am an important player for Milan.”
The No 7, who joined Il Diavolo in January 2008 for a reported €24m, was then asked about his relationship with his Coaches. Where he described Carlo Ancelotti and Leonardo as his ‘godfathers’, he was less-than-forthcoming with compliments for Allegri.
“Carlo always spoke to me, told me what to do on the field. If I have to improve [now] then [Allegri] has to recommend how. Champions must always move forward, they are expected to be the best.
“Every now and then Allegri will explain something to me, but a Coach should always suggest to his players how to correct defects.
“I would like to have a more direct relationship with Allegri, I won’t say much more. If he thinks it is right to criticise me then I have to keep my head down and work. I have to respect what the Coach says.
“The fact remains, however, that if he has noticed something wrong with my game then he would be better to come directly to me so we can discuss it together.”
Pato was then asked of Allegri’s comments that he had to get used to the position of striker again after previous Coach Leonardo had used him out wide on occasion.
“Even in the national team I played as a striker and I don’t think I did badly.”
In late November, Milan’s League win over Chievo was notable for Thiago Silva’s selection as captain, even though Pato was thought to be in line for the armband, according to Italian football tradition.
“The truth was, until I arrived in the changing room, I was convinced that the rule of seniority would see Milan assign the band to me.
“It did not turn out so, but I was not disappointed because in the end it ended up on the arm of a friend and a teammate.
“I did not [ask for an explanation], these are the decisions of [Adriano] Galliani and Allegri.”
Pato's comments come on the same day that he is being linked with moves to Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain. The London side, who the Rossoneri face in the Champions League in a couple of months, are reportedly monitoring Pato’s situation in Milan and are even prepared to make a €28m bid for the youngster.
Competition, according to Mediaset, comes from PSG and Pato’s ‘godfathers’ Ancelotti and Leonardo, who have been given a €20m budget to try to tempt Galliani with.
So what does this mean for the beloved little duckling? I don't like it when players air their grievances and talk out of turn, and this is no exception. The rumor mill has been strong that PSG is his next stop to be reunited with Leo and Carletto, and frankly the way he has been playing he is worth more to Milan at the moment as a check then a footballer. Four long years we waited for him to become what many have touted and few have seen. No sweat off my back, I made peace with his departure last season, now time to go shopping shall we...