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.

Lionel Messi Notches 200th Barcelona Assist During Team’s 1-0 Win Over Huesca

Make that 200 assists for Lionel Messi

Barcelona moved to fifth place in La Liga with a victory at Huesca on Sunday, with the 33-year-old Argentine soccer star earning a special assist.

Lionel Messi

Frenkie de Jong scored in the 27th minute for Ronald Koeman‘s side, who are now unbeaten over their last six matches.

Messi provided the assist on de Jong’s goal, giving him 200 for his Blaugrana career.

It was Messi’s 500th appearance for Barcelona in La Liga when he took to the pitch at El Alcoraz for Sunday’s La Liga clash against Huesca.

The captain was back in the starting XI to lead his team out for their first game of 2021 after sitting out the draw against Eibar last time out.

Messi becomes the first non-Spanish player to reach 500 games in La Liga and is now just five behind Xavi’s record of La Liga appearances for Barca.

The Argentina international is also close to moving past Xavi and becoming Barca’s all-time appearance maker.

Xavi played in a total of 767 games for Barcelona, while Messi is now on 750.

Former goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta holds the record for the most La Liga appearances. He managed 622 during a career which saw him play for Athletic, Barcelona and Valencia.

Barca now have 28 points from 16 matches, one behind fourth-placed Villarreal and 10 behind table-toppers Atletico Madrid, who still have a game in hand.

Huesca sit at the bottom of the table with 12 points after 17 matches.

The Catalans next face Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday, while Huesca will host Real Betis on January 11.

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.

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).

López Signs Lucrative Deal to Return to Real Madrid…

Diego López Rodríguez is getting Real again…

The 31-year-old Spanish footballer will be returning as a goalkeeper to Real Madrid, López’s team from 2000-2007, after agreeing to a $4.7 million dollar contract. He’d most recently played 172 games with Villarreal from 2007-2012 and about 8 games with Sevilla in 2012-2013.

Diego López Rodríguez

López’s hiring comes as the team aimed to secure an extra goalkeeper in light of an injury that’ll sideline the team’s netminder and captain Iker Casillas for up to 12 weeks.

News of the deal came as Casillas underwent surgery to repair damage to his left hand suffered when one of his teammates accidentally clipped him during Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey quarterfinal match against Valencia.

The operation went “very well,” surgeon Miguel del Cerro said, while urging that Casillas approach his recovery at a measured pace.

“We will follow the rehabilitation steps set out by Dr. del Cerro,” said Real Madrid’s director of medical services Carlos Diez.

Meanwhile, Lopez is expected to serve as backup to Antonio Adan, who had begun to move into the role of starting goalkeeper before a two-match suspension that opened the door for Casillas to return.

While out of contention for the 2012-2013 La Liga title, Real Madrid has a berth in the Copa del Rey semis and qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League.