BBC, Monday, January 14, 2008 3:30 PM
BBC columnist Tim Vickery, for one, isn't surprised at Sunday's bright start made by AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato, in which the he scored one and was involved in several others during Milan's 5-2
rout of Napoli. Vickery, the BBC's South American correspondent, recalls the Brazilian's professional debut for Internacional against Palmeiras two years ago. The slight 17-year-old scored in the
first minute after coming on as a substitute and then set up two more to lead the Porto Alegre club to a 4-1 victory. From that point on, Inter was "well aware they had unearthed a diamond."
Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about Pato's Milan debut is the manner in which he took the highly anticipated first match in his stride. Far from an unknown this time, Pato came into
Sunday's game being hailed as Milan's savior (the club had a terrible start to the season, particularly in front of goal). Despite the hype, the player displayed a "fluency of movement, the courage to
take defenders on," and "cool, precise finishing" -- all the qualities of a would-be world-class player. And he's only 18.
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