Pato can emulate Ronaldo says Brazil football coach Dunga
Brazil coach Dunga believes Alexandre Pato can emulate Ronaldo after the teenage prodigy marked his international debut with a sublime winner against Sweden. ( AFP )
Pato, 18, only made his first appearance for AC Milan two months ago but is already being heralded as a phenomenal talent. He underlined his huge potential with a breathtaking cameo at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium on Wednesday to clinch a 1-0 victory over Sweden.
The young star had only been on the pitch for 12 minutes as a second-half substitute when he punished Rami Shaaban's mistake with a curling effort from an acute angle wide on the left wing.
Ronaldo, a World Cup winner in 2002, played alongside Dunga earlier in his career and the Selecao coach is convinced Pato has the same world-beating ability as his Milan teammate.
"He is in the style of Ronaldo at that age," Dunga said. "They both like to get involved and try to do what you tell them. You have to give players like that room to be creative.
"I don't think he is a normal talent. There are some people that can make a big difference and he is one of those players.
"He has developed in the time he has been in Italy and already has good standing at Milan.
"He is very young for this but he is humble, modest and keeps working.
"It was an important goal. To do this in his first game gives him confidence."
It was fitting Pato made such an instant impact in a match arranged to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Brazil's first World Cup final triumph, a 5-2 win over the Swedes that established Pele as the game's first global star.
While Dunga is excited to work with Pato, he is keen to let the precocious youngster develop at his own pace. The next step will be to take part in the Olympics Games in Beijing later this year.
"He is ready to start. He has the Olympic Games coming up and that is a big opportunity for him," Dunga said. "He's a really promising player but we can't put too much responsibility on him. We have to break him in gently.
"We can't expect him to do everything on his own. He has to come into his game naturally but he definitely has talent.
There are a lot of expectations but we don't want to exaggerate."
Pato's introduction on the hour deflected attention from the rough treatment given to Anderson, who came on at the same time.
The Manchester United midfielder was jeered whenever he touched the ball by a large section of a near-capacity crowd that clearly contained plenty of Arsenal fans.
Dunga was impressed with the way Anderson coped with the abuse. "He plays for Manchester United and there is some ill-feeling there. He has shown his personality and showed that it didn't affect him at all," Dunga said.
With Kaka injured and Ronaldinho dropped by Dunga, Pato timed his claims for a regular place perfectly ahead of World Cup qualifiers against Paraguay and Argentina and the Olympic Games later this year.
He had already played at the Emirates for Milan against Arsenal earlier this month. He was subdued that night but stole the show in the 72nd minute this time.
When Swedish substitute goalkeeper Shaaban miscued his clearance into Pato's legs just outside the left-edge of the penalty area the teenager still had plenty to do.
He managed it with aplomb, lifting a perfectly-placed shot into the far corner from an acute angle to announce his arrival on the world stage.
Sweden coach Lars Lagerback was unhappy with his side's finishing and said: "We have to be a bit sharper when it really matters. We need to finish better, we're not good enough in that area.
"We have to make sure we are better in the final third and go all the way.
"But we got what we wanted. It was a good test against a great team. Perhaps we were a bit passive but it was just what we wanted before the European Championships."