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A message from the future

Hello, people of the year 2011. You are worshiping false idols and I have traveled back in time to preach to you the truth, the one and only savior. My name is Jovan and I come from the year 2025. This is the story of your future idol, whether you recognize him as such in the present or not.

In 2007, a bright young prospect arrived at Milanello with a cheeky smile and a childish haircut. He dazzled with his pace and directness. Quickly, he was dubbed the next big thing. Scoring on his debut certainly helped increase the hype, as did several other performances in his first year. The fans loved him and the world watched in anticipation.

Then came a hard period for our hero. Three years of purgatory filled with injury after injury. Strange coach decisions made him play out of position or put more burden on him than his young shoulders could handle. Still, when he played, he scored. The last year of purgatory ended with him as joint club top scorer, having played much less than the players he shared this title with.

And here we arrive at your time, my friends. The doubters are many and the cynics' voices are loud in public forums. Little do they know, the misguided souls, that what is to come will make them ashamed of their lack of faith. Enter the season 2011/12. Serie A kicks off in August. By late September, the doubters had been silenced. Milan plays with ease, controlling game after game and the solidity in defense is crowned in attack by a precise finisher with more pace, more skill and better positioning than any defense in the league can handle.

Some still stubbornly deny the greatness of our hero. But never mind them, my children, for they will be put to shame by the end of the season. As time went on, it became harder to doubt. The season ended in triumph - Milan defended their 2011 title and our man ended up as the league's top scorer with 25 goals next to his name. The shape of things to come, my little brothers...

Let me jump ahead to summer 2016. Now 26 years of age, our hero is established as one of the world's elite marksmen, consistently racking up 20 or more goals per season in Serie A and leading Milan to Champions League glory in 2013, defeating Barcelona in the final. But this was to be the summer of temptation for him. Having ended his marriage with Milan owner Barbara Berlusconi a few months back, his future was now in doubt. The other great European clubs were circling like hyenas, drooling at the idea of seeing him in their shirt. Hard times for the man, but almost as hard for Milan supporters worldwide who woke up every morning with fear of losing him. But fear not, my young sufferers - on August 30th, 2016, he would sign a contract extension with Milan, him and Barbara both stating the club was more important than their personal feuds and that his departure from the city of Milano wouldn't be good for their two children.

The stress of divorce and a hectic transfer market, however, took a toll. The following season was filled with ups and downs, hat tricks and blunders, important goals and more important misses. Milan barely earned a Champions League spot for next season. Next summer, however, the management brought in reinforcements and our man was on top of his game again, leading Milan to yet another Champions League title. Scoring 2 goals against Manchester United in the final game marked the definite end of his troubles.

Let's fast forward again, to present day. Well, my present day. To you, this is the distant future. A 35 year old Pato is running his final lap around San Siro as 85000 fans chant in unison with tears in their eyes. Having scored 266 goals for Milan, he comfortably beat Gunnar Nordahl's record, won 4 Champions League titles and 6 scudetti, earning a place in the hall of fame in Milan and indeed, in the world of football.

And that's the story. I could go into more detail but I think you'd rather be surprised once in a while. All you can do now is sit back, wait for the doubters to be put to shame and hope they'll be men enough to see the error of their ways.