Orlando City have re-signed Brazilian forward Alexandre Pato to a new contract through the 2022 MLS season.
The 32-year-old joined the Lions prior to the start of last season but picked up an early knee injury and was limited to just five appearances, failing to find the net.
But Pato clearly did enough to impress the front office and coaching staff at Exploria Stadium and he’ll now remain in Florida for another year.
“Pato’s ability is proven and we know the untapped potential in what he can bring to our team,” general manager and executive vice president of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release.
“He’s been working hard to return to top form and we’re looking forward to him having an impactful year for the club. We’re excited for him to return and play an important role both on the field and in the locker room this season.”
Pato added via his official Twitter page: “A new year, a new goal! After a year of much learning and overcoming. We will go again together!”
If he can stay fit, Pato will add incredible pedigree to Oscar Pareja’s forward line. Alongside his 27 caps and 10 goals for Brazil, the striker has enjoyed spells with the likes of AC Milan, Villarreal, and Chelsea, as well as Internacional, Corinthians, and Sao Paulo in his homeland.
That said, there will be even more pressure on Pato to avoid injury and deliver the goals after Orlando City sold striker Daryl Dike to West Bromwich Albion and forward Chris Mueller joined Scottish side Hibernian on a free transfer.
The Lions host CF Montreal on February 27 in their first fixture of the 2022 MLS season.