Alexandre Pato: Ronaldo tried to win me over with Playboy at AC Milan
Former AC Milan forward Alexandre Pato says Ronaldo tried to win him over with a copy of Playboy magazine when he arrived at the Rossoneri.
Pato, who now plays for Villarreal, moved to Milan in 2007, when he was still only 17. He played 150 times for the Serie A club and scored 63 goals, and he said he was made to feel welcome by his compatriot with a morality tale in the dressing room.
"When I arrived in Milan, I met many really great players," he told Italy's Fox Sport. "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."
To complicate his decision-making, Pato says he could hardly see since his vision was foggy following his medical only hours earlier.
"I pushed a bit too hard with the palm of my right hand while I was doing an eye test and so I couldn't see very well," he said.
"The doctor gave me some eye drops, but they just blurred my vision even more and when I arrived at Milanello, I had my eyes closed and couldn't see any more when I was presented to [coach Carlo] Ancelotti and the other players."
He saw enough during his time at Milan to recognise Ancelotti as a great coach, however.
"I was still in touch with him until recently," Pato said. "If it had not been for him, I would never have joined Milan. I would like to meet him again.
"Ancelotti was crucial in forming me the way I have become today in football and as a person.
"When I was at Milan, I was only little and he was like a father for me. The first day I got there, he just told me to do what I knew best, which was to play football.
"After I won the Club World Cup, 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 endured a difficult end to his time with the Rossoneri, however. Injuries had restricted his appearances and he was no longer able to force his way into the side, but he says club president Silvio Berlusconi was always kind with him.
"Berlusconi was the same all the time with me -- he was a gentleman and he always treated me well," Pato said.
"Even when I went to ask if I could return to Brazil and, to start with, he didn't want me to leave. In the end, we agreed and he also realised that it was the right thing to do, to let me go."
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.