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Addio bel ragazzo: Remembering Alexandre Pato

Two years ago, a Prince departed Milan to return to his native land

Claudio Villa/Getty Images

The story is well known by now: Pato came to Milan in the summer of 2007, but due to FIFA regulations, couldn't play till the following January. On the 4th of that January was when the transfer became official  and just a few days later, the Hermes of forwards scored his first goal in a 5-2 win against Napoli. Two weeks later? A brace against Genoa.

There were other goals as well, 48 of them actually, including a second half brace against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu during the Champions League group stages. That goal against Barcelona. That other goal against Chievo. The brace against Inter. And his last Milan goal against Anderlecht.

What followed his goals though, almost immediately, was a visit to the treatment table; most noticeably for his hamstring. It was if the fates were mocking his limitless talent by awarding him a body held together by paper mache and prayers. Every goal meant another tear, another strain, a fracture or general soreness. There have been no end to the theories on why the boy's body couldn't hold up to the rigors of European football --some have even speculated that it was because he was so fast that he was so often injured.

Nonetheless, he was a favorite of many --even dating Barbara Berlusconi-- and he brought some real moments of wonderment when he was at Milan. It's a story of what could have been, what should have been and the sad reality that no matter how talented you are, you're still a servant to your own physical limitation.

Here's the video of his departure that's more heartbreaking than watching the Titanic and Mufasa's death consecutively:

Trovommi Amor del tutto disarmato

et aperta la via per gli occhi al core,

che di lagrime son fatti uscio et Varco