TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing
Orlando City SC announced one of the biggest moves of the MLS offseason thus far, confirming Saturday morning that they've signed Brazilian forward Alexandre Pato to a one-year deal as a free agent. He'll officially join the Lions pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate.
The 31-year-old most recently featured for Sao Paulo in Brazil as part of a well-traveled career that's seen him suit up for some of the world's biggest clubs and accumulate an impressive goalscoring résumé.
"We are very excited to welcome Pato to Orlando. He’s a veteran player who has featured at some of the top clubs around the world and has a proven track record at the international level. The experience that Pato brings with him will be invaluable to the club,” Orlando City EVP of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi said in a club release. “Pato is a high-caliber player and we’re excited to add another great target up top.”
Pato began his professional career in Brazil with Internacional before establishing himself as one of the world's top young stars, breaking the record as the youngest goalscorer in a FIFA competition when tallying at the Club World Cup at the age of 17 and securing a move to AC Milan. Though he struggled with injuries, Pato made 117 appearances for the Serie A giants over the course of six seasons, scoring 51 goals.
Capped 27 times by Brazil's national team, his career has also included stops at Chelsea and Villarreal, as well as China, where he racked up 30 goals in 47 appearances for Tianjin Tianhai. He also completed further stints back in Brazil, twice with Sao Paulo and once with Corinthians.
Pato adds a proven goal-scorer to an Orlando City roster that already boasts plenty of danger in Nani, Chris Mueller, Daryl Dike and Mauricio Pereyra. The Lions are coming off their best-ever MLS season in 2020, making the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time and advancing to the final of the MLS is Back Tournament.