Pato's the real deal: and not just Englishmen can see it

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In Brazil, when something is done just to keep up appearances, we use the expression para inglês ver – “so the Englishman can see it”.

So, for example, you might say: “Did you see Michael Jackson is dating a 30-year-old woman?”

And I'd reply: “Oh yes... for sure... para inglês ver.”

OK, it might not make perfect sense now, but it did back in the 19th century when Brazil’s Regency government yielded to English pressure and promulgated a law forbidding the trafficking of slaves.

Everyone knew the act wasn’t going to be taken seriously – the country’s economy depended on the slaves – and word was that the Regent had passed the law just so the Englishmen could see it and stop bothering our exploitative behinds.

All of this leads me to last night’s clash between Brazil and Sweden at the Emirates Stadium – Brazil’s FIFTH game in London in less than two years. (In the same period, Brazilians have only twice been able to see the Seleção in action, once in Rio de Janeiro and once in São Paulo.)

Brazil: back in London with a new hero

Apart from the first match, when Dunga’s boys routed Argentina 3-0, the games in London have been pure deception – as most Brazil friendlies are. The win against Wales, the late draw at Wembley against England and the defeat to Portugal – all drowsy performances from bored players who couldn’t wait for the final whistle.

But somehow England wanted to see yet another Brazil match and, for U$1.5m, the Brazilian Football Confederation duly obliged.

Unsurprisingly, the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Brazil’s first World Cup title at the Emirates was going the same way: another forgettable display of from the Seleção – to summarise it, another game para inglês ver...

Then onto the field strode Alexandre Pato.

Eleven minutes after Dunga awoke from his lethargy and sent on Milan's young star, Pato lobbed Rami Shaaban, the poor Swedish keeper, to score the only goal of the game (read match report). A true gem in Pato’s very first game with the Seleção. And a real gift to the stubborn Londoners who were there hoping to finally see Brazil show their true colours.

Sweden's Rami Shabaan: the first of many global Pato victims

I was lucky enough to be at Palestra Italia stadium on November 26 2006 when 17-year-old Alexandre Pato scored his first professional goal for Internacional, against Palmeiras. I didn’t know it at the time – the kid was being kept secret by Inter's directors – but I was witnessing history on the making.

Now, the fortune of watching Pato score his maiden goal for Brazil has gone to the English. And let's be clear, this wasn't a goal para inglês ver: Pato is the real deal.

By granting England this privilege, I’m happy to say, we Brazilians are excused our previous deceits. We’re even now.