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Pato eyes redemption at Chelsea amid lowered expectations, but will it work?

Alexandre Pato arrives in London ahead of his Chelsea medical, where he cannot wait to begin.
With Alexandre Pato making the switch to the Premier League, here's a glimpse at a few highlights from his time in Brazil.

There was a time where the news of Alexandre Pato joining Chelsea would be exciting for more reasons than simply the rare arrival of a Brazilian forward in the Premier League. It doesn't seem like it's been 10 years since news broke in Brazil of Pato's coming of age, a prodigy so promising that Internacional resorted to only deploying him behind closed doors in order not to deny European scouts a glimpse of his talent. A boy named "duck" in Portuguese because of his birthplace, a Southern city...

 By Tim Vickery

Neymar's Ballon D'Or nomination shows everything is going to plan

Take a look back at some of the finest moments of 2015 for Neymar, a year in which he was nominated for the Ballon d'Or.

Too much importance is probably given to the FIFA Ballon D'Or award, which has more to do with the way football is marketed than with the game itself. Lionel Messi would probably agree -- he gives every impression that for him, such awards are merely a consequence of work carried out in a collective context.

His chief rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, makes it clear that he is highly motivated by individual awards. And Monday will also be a big occasion for the other man on the podium,...

 By Tim Vickery

Corinthians must rebuild in wake of Jadson and Renato's move to China

Corinthian striker Jadson
Jadson (left) is set to move across continents to play in China.

Hopes would seem to have been dashed that Corinthians of Brazil might restore the honour of South American club football in 2016.

After River Plate had been so predictably shown up and outclassed in the Club World Cup, many hoped that Corinthians might stop the rot. The Sao Paulo giants were the last South American team to win the trophy, when coach Tite's well-drilled side beat Chelsea by a single goal in 2012.

It was not the most thrilling spectacle from the point of view of the neutral and, to...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Neymar spends big on Secret Santa gift for actress Paolla Oliveira

No player stepped up more for Barcelona while Lionel Messi was injured than Neymar.
Neymar shelled out some serious money for diamond earrings for his Secret Santa, Brazilian actress Paolla Oliveira.

Neymar was included in the Secret Santa gift exchange between actors and star athletes organised by Brazil variety show Fantastico and he didn't disappoint.

Brazil's Olympic athletes mixed with TV stars in the exchange, with women's football star Marta also participating. Neymar's Secret Santa was  Rafael Cardoso, with the novela actor giving him...

 By Chris Wright

Barcelona and Brazil star Neymar nails the rabona challenge

The ESPN FC panel answer your tweets on Neymar being the second best player on the planet, Liverpool or Tottenham and more.

As one of the most marketable players on the face of the planet, Neymar spends an awful lot of his down time filming commercials and generally lending his image to a whole cavalcade of products and brands.

Indeed, the Barcelona forward's latest commercial endeavour saw him tasked with demonstrating his pinpoint accuracy by clipping a ball through one of several targets cut in a canvas sheet hung in the goalmouth.

Neymar being Neymar, of course he went and dispatched a rabona into the top corner at...

 By Tim Vickery

Corinthians are Brazil's best chance of reclaiming Copa Libertadores glory

Corinthians are on an amazing run of trophy-winning form, something Tite can keep going in the Copa Lib.

Last Thursday, Corinthians wrapped up the Brazilian title with four rounds to spare. Then on Sunday they celebrated in style by thrashing local rivals Sao Paulo 6-1.

For their opponents, this was very much a live game. Sao Paulo sat fourth in the league table and are fighting to qualify for next year's Copa Libertadores, South America's equivalent of the Champions League. But Corinthians tore them apart and did so with a team largely made up of reserves, indicating that they have a deep squad...