Alexandre Pato Signs One-Year Contract to Remain at Orlando City

Alexandre Pato is staying in the Sunshine State…

The 32-year-old Brazilian professional footballer and Orlando City forward has signed a one-year contract for the 2022 season, according to the club.

Alexandre Pato

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed by the team for Pato, who joined Orlando last February but injured his right knee in the 2021 season opener against Atlanta United.

Pato was limited to just four appearances last season due to the injury.

“Pato’s ability is proven and we know the untapped potential in what he can bring to our team,” Orlando general manager Luiz Muzzi said in a statement.

“He’s been working hard to return to top form and we’re looking forward to him having an impactful year for the club. We’re excited for him to return and play an important role both on the field and in the locker room this season.”

The striker has scored 160 goals in 398 games during previous spells at AC MilanChelseaVillarreal and Sao Paulo.

Ronaldo Buys Controlling Stake in His Former ‘Cruzeiro’ Club

Ronaldo is official a club owner…

The 45-year-old Brazilian retired soccer player, who played for Real Madrid and Brazil’s national team, has bought a controlling stake in his former club Cruzeiro.

Ronaldo  Ronaldo, who played for Cruzeiro as a teenager in the early 1990s before going on to become one of the most successful center forwards in soccer history, finalized the deal with the help of Brazilian investment bank XP.

The transaction, which was done through Ronaldo’s Tara Sports company and is still subject to what the bank called “a series of conditions,” sees Ronaldo invest 400 million reais ($70 million) in the Belo Horizonte club, which has spent two years in Brazil’s second division.

“I am so happy to have concluded this operation,” Ronaldo said in a video posted by the Cruzeiro president, adding, while holding one of the club’s blue shirts, that he wants to “give back to Cruzeiro and take them where they deserve to be.”

“We have a lot of hard to work to do. There’s nothing to celebrate yet but we bring a lot of hard work and the ambition to make Cruzeiro great again.”

He wrote on Instagram: “It’s my turn to try and open doors for the team. Not as a hero. Not with superpowers to single-handedly change reality. But with immense responsibility. With intelligent and sustainable management for medium- and long-term growth.”

“I don’t have all the answers to the questions that I ask myself and I possibly won’t have all the answers to the questions that you will ask me,” he wrote in an open letter to fans.

“What I do know is that the kid who learnt at Cruzeiro that dreams can come true today makes me believe that it is possible to rescue the club from its crisis.”

It is the second foray into management for the former PSV Eindhoven, InternazionaleAC MilanBarcelona and Corinthians striker. Ronaldo bought a 51% stake in Spanish club Real Valladolid in 2018.

Neither he nor Cruzeiro provided any significant details but XP said in a statement “it seeks to help the Brazilian football industry with professionalisation, capitalization and opening new opportunities.”

Ronaldo posted a blue heart and a fox — the Cruzeiro mascot — on Twitter, and a club spokesperson confirmed the deal.

Cruzeiro also told the fans they were “phenomenal”, in a reference to Ronaldo’s nickname as a player, “Ronaldo Fenomeno”.

The deal comes a few months after the Brazilian Congress sanctioned a law allowing football clubs, historically fan-owned and closed off to outside investors, to become businesses.

“This is the first bit of business in a relevant new front for the investment banking market in Brazil, the country of football,” said Jose Berenguer, CEO of Banco XP.

“I have no doubt this is transformational in the history of Brazilian sport. We will have clubs that are stronger, with the capacity for global investment. Brazilian football will never be the same again.”

Orlando City SC Sign Alexandre Pato on a One-Year Deal

Alexandre Pato will be kickin’ it up in Central Florida…

The 31-year-old Brazilian professional footballer and former AC Milan forward is set to join Orlando City SC, according to ESPN.

Alexandre Pato

The Lions teased the signing with a pair of Tweets on Friday containing a picture of a duck. (Pato means “duck” in Portuguese.) An announcement could come as soon as this weekend.

Sources say Pato has signed a one-year deal and will not be a Designated Player.

His salary will be brought down with General Allocation Money and includes an option for an additional year. Orlando recently sent striker Daryl Dike on loan to English Championship side Barnsley.

The Mane Land were among the first outlets who reported the Pato deal.

Pato’s lengthy club career includes stints at AC Milan, Chelsea and Villarreal, as well several Brazilian teams and Chinese club Tianjin Tianhai. He was most recently on the books of Sao Paulo, his second stint with the club, and one where he scored nine goals in 35 league and cup appearances. But he has been without a team since he and Sao Paulo reached an agreement in August of 2020 to terminate his contract.

His most successful spell at club level came with AC Milan, where he played from 2007-13. In that time he scored 63 goals in 140 league and cup appearances, and helped the side to a Serie A title in 2010-11 and the Supercoppa Italiana in 2011.

Pato is an ex-Brazil international, scoring 10 goals in 27 appearances, the last of which came in 2013.

Pato is the latest Brazilian star to join Orlando, the club where ex-Milan and Real Madrid midfielder Kaka played from 2014-17. There are currently four other Brazilians currently on the team’s roster in Junior Urso, RuanAntonio Carlos and Matteus Aias.

Robinho Returning to Santos for Just Above Brazil’s Minimum Wage Rate

Robinho isn’t afraid to earn a lot less to play for his boyhood club…

The 36-year-old Brazilian professional footballer and former Manchester City forward has signed a five-month contract with former club Santos, and he’ll earn $271 (R$1.500) a month, which is just above the country’s minimum wage.

Robinho

Robinho re-joined his boyhood club for a third stint as a free agent, having left Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir shortly after helping them win their first Super Lig title last season.

“I will play for a minimum wage, but the most important thing is to be here,” Robinho told the club’s official website.

“I am well physically and mentally, obviously there is still a little bit of rhythm [missing], but that over time we will gradually evolve.”

Robinho, who shot to fame after making his professional debut with Santos in 2002, went on to play for Real Madrid, City and AC Milan, among other clubs.

He won two national championships, two Paulista tournaments and the Brazilian Cup in his previous two spells with Santos.

“I have many fond memories here,” Robinho added. “The fans can be certain that I will give my best to help Santos FC on and off the pitch.

Santos FC is going through a difficult financial time. So this is the time for those who can do something. I want to help the club that always gave me everything. Santos FC has already done a lot for me and this return is still little.”

Santos are going through financial difficulties and could soon face a transfer ban from FIFA over unpaid debts.

Chilean club Huachipato are demanding Santos to complete the $3.4m deal over the signing of Venezuelan striker Jefferson Soteldo, while Colombian outfit Atletico Nacional claim they are still owed $774,000 from the sale of defender Felipe Aguilar.

Thiago Silva Agrees to Two-Year Deal with Chelsea F.C.

Thiago Silva is switching sides

The 35-year-old Brazilian professional footballer will sign a two-year deal for Chelsea F.C. this week after leaving Paris Saint-Germain, according to ESPN.

Thiago Silva

The PSG captain’s contract at the French club ran out at the end of the previous campaign, but he played all the Champions League knockout matches — including in the team’s 1-0 final defeat to Bayern Munich — but was not offered a new deal after eight years at the Parc des Princes.

Silva has agreed to personal terms with Chelsea, although minor details are still left to sort out. He’ll reportedly have his medical on Thursday ahead of his official signing.

The big attraction for Chelsea is they won’t have to pay a transfer fee for the former AC Milan defender.

Silva feels he can still play at the top European level for three or four years. He wanted a two-year deal and Chelsea were happy to offer it him.

PSG boss Thomas Tuchel wanted to keep him in Paris but sporting director Leonardo was against it.

Silva had also been offered a two-year deal by Fiorentina, but has opted to join Chelsea rather than return to Serie A.

Lola Ponce to Perform for AC Milan & Roc Nation’s Virtual Live Tribute Concert

Lola Ponceis honoring Italy’s frontliners…

Italian soccer club AC Milan and Roc Nation have joined forces to stage a virtual live event on Sunday, featuring the 37-year-old Argentine-Italian singer/songwriter and actress.

Lola Ponce

Headlined by Alicia Keys, the concert will pay tribute to workers fighting the coronaviruspandemic in Italy and beyond.

Funds raised through the event will benefit global humanitarian aid organization Direct Reliefand AC Milan’s philanthropic foundation.

Viewers will be able to donate via the “From Milan with Love” fundraising site and AC Milan’s Facebook page.

The hour-long tribute is scheduled for Sunday at 9:00 pm (1900 GMT) and will be hosted by Grammy-winning producer DJ Khaled and Italian TV presenter Diletta Leotta.

In addition to Ponce and Keys, other performers include Kelly RowlandRobin ThickeGavin Rossdale and Chris Traynor of Bush, and Jay Buchanan of Rival Sons.

“This crisis has presented unprecedented challenges for all of us, but the contribution that these key workers have made is humbling, inspiring and will never be forgotten,” Milan chief executive Ivan Gazid is said. “The participation of such an amazing array of talent in this event will provide a fitting tribute to them and I hope will help to spread a message of hope and optimism during this difficult period.”

Milan’s last Serie Agame was on March 8 before the league was suspended.

More than 27,000 people are known to have died from coronavirus in Italy. However, the number of daily new cases of COVID-19, as well as the fatalities, have steadily declined, and the country is set to ease lockdown measures on Monday, allowing individuals to practice sport outdoors.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez in Talks to Transfer to LA Galaxy

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez may be heading to a new galaxy…

The LA Galaxyare in talks with the 31-year-old Mexican professional footballer, who plays as a striker for Spanish club Sevillaand the Mexico national team.

Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez,

A Galaxy spokesperson told ESPN that the club continues to speak to Hernandez and Sevilla about a transfer. A report from Marcastated that Sevilla is willing to part with Hernandez for a $10 million transfer fee, which would be a Galaxy record, but the Galaxy spokesperson said no deal was in place, nor was one imminent.

Galaxy general manager Dennis Te Kloese told the Los Angeles Times about the possible acquisition of Hernandez, adding: “I think he could be good for us. We’ll give it a serious try.”

Hernandez, Mexico’s all-time leading scorer with 52 goals, is in his first season with Sevilla after moving last summer from West Ham Unitedfor $8.7 million, but he has found playing time hard to come by. Hernandez has made just 15 league and cup appearances, scoring three goals.

The Mexico legend would be tabbed to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who, after scoring 31 league and playoff goals last season, departed the club and eventually signed for AC Milan

Given his Mexico roots, Hernandez figures to be a massive box office draw, should he sign with the Galaxy.

After breaking in with Liga MXside Chivasin 2006 and spending four years with the club, Hernandez has spent the bulk of his career in Europe, suiting up for the likes of Manchester UnitedReal MadridBayer Leverkusen, West Ham and eventually Sevilla.

At club level, Hernandez has scored 156 goals in 424 club appearances. He was on two Premier League-winning sides with Manchester United in 2010-11 and 2012-13, and he won the 2006 Apertura with Chivas.

At international level, he has been part of three World Cupsquads with Mexico, making 109 appearances.

Pepe Reina Joins Aston Villa on Short-Term Loan

Pepe Reina is headed to the United Kingdom…

The 37-year-old Spanish footballer and former Liverpool goalkeeper has joined Aston Villa on a short-term deal from AC Milan.

Pepe Reina

Reina, who has also played for BarcelonaVillarrealBayern Munich and Napoliand was part of the Spain squad that won the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championshipin 2008 and 2012, was mainly a back-up to Milan No. 1 Gianluigi Donnarumma during his time at the San Siro.

Reina spent eight years at Liverpool between 2005 and 2013, winning an FA Cup, a Football LeagueCup, a FA Community Shieldand a UEFA Super Cup.

He ended his Liverpool career with a yearlong loan move to Napoli before permanently joining Bayern in 2014. He lasted just one year at the Allianz Arenabefore returning to Napoli for three years.

Reina made his international debut against Uruguayin 2005 but spent much of his career with Spain as the second choice goalkeeper to Iker Casillas.

Villa were keen to sign a goalkeeper after their first choice Tom Heatonsustained a season-ending injury.

Real Madrid’s Dani Ceballos to Join Arsenal on Season-Long Loan

Dani Ceballosis weaponizing…

The 22-year-old Spanish professional footballer has agreed to join Arsenal on a season-long loan with the Gunners expected to finalize the terms of the agreement with Real Madrid soon, according to ESPN FC.

Dani Ceballos

Tottenham HotspurSevilla and AC Milan also tried to sign the midfielder but different sources told ESPN FCthat Unai Emery has been decisive in Ceballos accepting Arsenal’s proposal even though they won’t participate in the Champions League this season.

Another key factor in Ceballos’ decision was Arsenal’s flexibility to accept a personal loans deal without an option to buy as opposed to the Spurs‘ insistence on a permanent deal being an eventual feature of any deal they made.

Ceballos has failed to establish himself at Madrid since joining from Real Betis in 2017, but club sources trust that this loan will help him to earn “regular time” and prove why Real Madrid “made a big gamble” on him in the summer of 2017.

Ceballos caught the attention of Milan, Tottenham, Sevilla and Arsenal after helping Spainwin the European Under-21 Championshipearlier in the summer.

Ceballos wanted to leave on loan to find regular playing time and decided the Premier Leaguewas the best place to continue his development.

Tottenham looked the favorites but sources close to Emery said he has been “key” in the decision as the Arsenal manager is ready to “to give him regular game time to prove his worth” and to “give him freedom to shape the game in the midfield.”

The agreement between clubs is also on track and several media outlets in Spain are even claiming that that the player could undergo his medical exams this week before travelling to USA to join Arsenal in their preseason tour.

Pato Transferring to Spain’s Villarreal Club de Fútbol, S.A.D.

Alexandre Pato is ready to kick it in Spain…

The 26-year-old Brazilian soccer star will be presented on Monday as the newest member of Spain’s Villarreal Club de Fútbol, S.A.D.

Alexandre Pato

Pato, who previously played for Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, will join Villarreal for the next four seasons.

He’ll be presented on Monday in a ceremony in the Paraje Ermita de la Virgen de Gracia Villarreal.

According to sources at Corinthians, Pato’s transfer will cost the Spanish side to pay Corinthians three million euros, of them 40 percent for the player.

Pato has played for Brazilian side Internacional, AC Milan, Corinthians, Sao Paulo and Chelsea.

At the beginning of 2016, Chelsea acquired the player, who won’t debut with the Blues until April 2. Despite only playing two matches he scored one goal for the London side.

According to the Villarreal official website, Pato has also had a long career with the Brazilian National Team, making his first appearance in 2008 and playing 28 matches, scoring 10 goals.

He has also been a member of the U20 National Team (12 matches, 8 gols) and the Olympic National Team (10 matches, 2 goals).