SHANGHAI: Alexandre Pato’s love affair with Chinese football appears over after he posted a cryptic social media message about “lies” and played no part in his team’s opening two matches of the season.
The 29-year-old Brazilian had refound his passion for the game since signing for Tianjin Quanjian from Spain’s Villarreal for about US$21 million two years ago.
But the former international forward returned from the winter off-season to find that Chinese Super League (CSL) Quanjian had become Tianjin Tianhai.
The former AC Milan starlet was subsequently strongly linked with a return to Brazil last month, but a move never materialised.
Tianjin, thrown into disarray after a scandal involving its owner, have lost both games of the new CSL season. Pato failed to make the bench on both occasions.
Pato, whose career in European football was derailed by injury and poor form, has been one of the star performers in the CSL in the last two years.
He has also been widely praised by Chinese football fans for appearing to embrace life in the country and he has used Chinese social media to reach a wider audience.
But on Tuesday he asked his 753,000 followers on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter: “What is happiness?”
Hours later he posted: “The truth always comes out in the end, no matter how hard anyone tries to hide it or stop it.”
“Lies are just a temporary delay to the inevitable.” — AFP