Alexandre Pato, who was just 17 when he joined AC Milan from Internacional back in 2007, credits Brazil icon Ronaldo with making him feel right at home in Italy… despite him going slightly over the top.
The up and coming striker made the move to Europe after scoring 12 goals across his first 27 professional fixtures, and was placed in the dressing room between Ronaldo and Paolo Maldini.
World Cup winner Ronaldo provided the perfect role model on the pitch having scored 104 goals in 177 games for Real Madrid before his recent return to Italy – and provided another type of service off of it.
"When I arrived in Milan, I met many really great players," Pato told Italy's Fox Sports in 2016 having scored 63 across his 150 games for the club before leaving in 2013.
"In the dressing room, I was sat between [Paolo] Maldini and Ronaldo, who asked me if I wanted to be part of his clan, showing me a copy of Playboy, or if wanted to be part of Kaka's clan, who had a few church things in the dressing room."
That choice provided a comical outlook on two ways his career with Milan could go, but he outlasted Ronaldo at the San Siro after he returned to Brazil in 2009.
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Pato managed nine goals in his debut season at the club under Carlo Ancelotti, winning the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.
He added of his initial move to the city: "After I won the Club World Cup (with Internacional), there were different big clubs linked with signing me, but when Milan came, it really got me thinking because there were so many players there I wanted to play with.
"They had won the Champions League and I decided, with my parents and my family. I told them I wanted to go to Milan.
"I never really felt the pressure when I arrived in Italy because I was living a dream. I was playing because I felt good, because I love football. It is only after that I felt the pressure."
Pato, now 32, has since had spells with Corinthians, Sao Paulo, Villarreal, Tianjin Tianhai and even Chelsea before joining his current club Orlando City last year.
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