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Pato vs Ibrahimovic – Who Has Had The Better Season?

By | Posted on | May 18, 2011 | 25 Comments

When Milan signed Ibrahimovic in late August, almost everyone thought that Milan’s strike partnership for the season would include both Pato and Ibrahimovic together in the starting line-up. Of course, Robinho hadn’t arrived by then. But even when he did, Alexandre Pato and Zlatan the man looked destined to lead Milan’s front line, supported by either one of the two smiling Brazilians, ‘Dinho and ‘Binho.

The three protagonists of Milan's attack

The three protagonists of Milan's attack

Now that the season is practically over, Milan is faced with a dilemma. In fact, this issue started mid-season after Pato returned from his long injury lay-off. By then, Ronaldinho was already gone, and Robinho had established himself as a vital part of Milan’s attack due to his work-rate and fancy footwork. Despite that, Pato was paired with Ibrahimovic upfront, and needless to say, the outcome was much less than desired. However, this isn’t a discussion of whether the two strikers are compatible or not, it is basically a comparison between the two of them this season. Since Milan’s formation includes one leading striker supported by Robinho, with Cassano as his cover, there is one spot left for one of Pato and Zlatan. Pato has emerged this season as a center forward, the same position that Ibra occupies. So unless Massimiliano Allegri is ready to scrap his formation to accommodate the two together, which is highly unlikely, only one of them could be the focal point of Milan’s attack. So who has had the better season, the lethal Brazilian or the big Swede?

A look at both strikers’ statistics this season would reveal the following:

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 42 appearances in all competitions (3 as a sub), 24 goals, 11 assists. (0.57 goal/game ratio)

Alexandre Pato: 23 appearances in all competitions (7 as a sub), 15 goals, 3 assists. (0.65 goal/game ratio)

Incompatible Pair? Hardly, they complete each other

Incompatible Pair? Hardly, they complete each other

Ibrahimovic has played almost double Pato’s games, due to the young Brazilian’s injury problems, yet Pato has the better goal/game ratio. But Ibra has the better assist ratio with 0.26 assists/game, since Pato has 0.13 assists/game. What is notable is that the difference in their goal and assists ratios isn’t huge, but comparing their shot ratio, Pato emerges as a clear winner. Out of 70 shots all season, Pato had 32 of them on goal, 15 of which were scored. That is a staggering 0.47 goal/shot on target. Which basically means that every two shots on target by Pato, one of them will be a goal. That is an outstanding achievement and proves how clinical Pato is, which is even more impressive considering his age and the fact that he never got a consistent run of games due to his constant injuries. On the other hand, Ibrahimovic has had 140 shots this season, which is exactly double that of Pato. Out of the 140 shots, 70 of them were on target, and 24 were converted into goals. So that means that Ibra’s goal/shot on target ratio sits at 0.34, which isn’t bad at all, but isn’t quite where Pato’s is.

But of course, statistics only tell half the story. One shouldn’t undermine the importance of Ibra on the team. His Charlie Sheen ‘winning’ attitude has brushed off on other players. It affected youngsters who hadn’t won silverware before, and seniors who had tasted success but struggled in recent times. Ibrahimovic’s signing inspired the team and provided the players with much needed self belief. In addition to that, Ibra practically carried the team’s attack in the first 4 months. Milan endured a difficult start to the campaign, and while most players were still starting their engines, Ibrahimovic made sure Milan had something to play for till the end of the season. His physical presence upfront was immense for Allegri’s side, as Ibrahimovic scored for fun while the mister was busy building the team. No one could forget Ibra’s genius solo goals to win 1-0 games.

On the other hand, Pato enjoyed a great finish to the season. He stepped up when Ibra suffered with goal drought and attitude problems, and carried Milan’s attack without any problems. His start to the season was good with a brace vs Chievo coming to mind, but injuries cut his season short. Nevertheless, he maintained a great clinical record, scoring in most games and just after returning from injury. Pato also delivered when it mattered. He scored when it was deeply needed, with a man of the match performance along with a brace vs Inter, as well as vital goals vs Chievo (2nd leg) and Fiorentina, to name a few.

Ibrahimovic has definitely enjoyed the better start to the campaign, as Pato’s injuries didn’t help his cause. But even if the Brazilian was fit, it’s highly unlikely that he would have had the big effect that Zlatan has had on Milan’s season until the Christmas break. On the other hand, while Ibrahimovic was busy getting red cards for fun at the end of the season, Pato was enjoying a great spell of form until injuries once again hindered his progress. It is undeniable that both players played their roles in Milan’s success this season. Both of them stepped up when the other was struggling, so in a way, they completed each other.

Needless to say, this comparison counts for almost nothing, since no one knows what will happen next season. Maybe Allegri will accommodate them together, and even if he didn’t, both men are likely to be protagonists for Milan in the next campaign. With Pato’s injury troubles, and Ibrahimovic’s habit of losing his nerves and shying away in Europe, both men will be needed for Milan to reach silverware. They both enjoyed good seasons individually and on team level, and it’s arguable which one of them outshone the other. However, this shouldn’t concern any Milan fan, as Milanisti should be grateful to boast having two of the best strikers in the world as a part of their team.

Teammates: Success for either of them means victory for the other

Teammates: Success for either of them means victory for the other

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25 Responses to “Pato vs Ibrahimovic – Who Has Had The Better Season?”

  1. Odu oluwadamilare
    June 21st, 2011 @ 06:16

    I think pato is the best.

    July 15th, 2011 @ 13:53


    July 15th, 2011 @ 13:57

    As 4 me pato is more than ibrahimovic,i luke sharp on fild of playing,i give it to pato.

  4. John A. Klungervik
    July 27th, 2011 @ 09:45

    I give my vote to PATO :)

  5. ceesay ebrima
    August 8th, 2011 @ 21:05

    without milan i will have no interest in football
    the only football i waste my time,my energy,my money,and my watch

  6. hammed
    August 10th, 2011 @ 14:10

    in as much as on cannot underestimate the brilliance and presence of ibra upfront, i will still pitch my tent with pato because he is a player of value, a potential ballon d’ol winner

  7. Emma
    August 23rd, 2011 @ 19:50

    All of sports team have stars but even stars get injured. They can even have long off nights. I remember the saying, “there’s no ‘I’ in the word team.” Those players will take time to gel. Especially Pato, practice shape is different from game shape.

  8. matthew
    August 26th, 2011 @ 07:51

    pato is d best

  9. tchi
    September 4th, 2011 @ 22:30

    well everyone is like pato pato pato.but i think bringing in ibra won us this scuddeto.pato is an awesome player.very very lethal in front of goal but i gv ibra my vote,at least for all the solo games we all witnessed in the begining of the season.but they are both milan players.forza milano!.!.!.!.!

  10. Farouk
    September 6th, 2011 @ 13:37

    Finally some love for Ibra!

    September 15th, 2011 @ 23:51


  12. fillipo pipo
    November 19th, 2011 @ 04:59

    pato is number one for milan without a doubt as he continuosly pushes hard for milan some players dont give their all on the field ibra and pato are great but pato will be the greatest for milan

  13. DANIEL
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 15:09


  14. amr atef
    December 11th, 2011 @ 03:50

    ibrahimovic for sure .

  15. Ibrahim
    December 28th, 2011 @ 01:58

    My vote is 4 Alexandre Pato, i also vote ibra. but pato is d best in d whole world.

  16. abico
    January 23rd, 2012 @ 09:58

    i give my to pato he is the best player in the world

  17. chux
    February 21st, 2012 @ 13:58

    both players are great and are doing well, like wise other milan players. However, i love Pato’s style of play. He is a threat to any defender.

  18. King
    February 24th, 2012 @ 16:50

    Ibracadabra 4 sure

  19. Bel milan
    March 4th, 2012 @ 09:44

    With no doubt,ibra is the strongest and the most dangeroud talented player in all over of the world,pato still needs a lot to learn

  20. Ibro
    May 7th, 2012 @ 18:51

    There is no clinical finisher in milan lik pato, he just need time to gain full fitness, so he need our support nd prayer. .

  21. Kristen
    May 18th, 2012 @ 13:35

    I understand that Ibrahimovic is one of the greatest but I believe Pato can give him a run for his money later on.

    My Website:Lawyer Port St Lucie

  22. tayo
    July 27th, 2012 @ 13:32

    Ibrahimovic for such

  23. sorayy1899
    August 20th, 2012 @ 07:44

    the best sticker in the world…

  24. ephtee
    September 9th, 2013 @ 19:45

    Its pato for sure

  25. ephtee
    September 9th, 2013 @ 19:46

    PATO !!!

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