Midfielders are often judged on their creativity; their ability to pick a pass, move through space and score a goal. Former Napoli midfielder and PARK ambassador Pato however is showing that footballers can be creative beyond the game itself.
*This interview has been edited from the original for the sake of brevity.
People that follow you know that you’re not just a footballer. You have two outlets - photography and videography - that give us a fuller appreciation for yourself as a creative. What about those two mediums have been able to captivate you?
I’ve always wanted to be a creative. I was jealous of people who were able to sing or paint. I always felt like that was somewhere in me, but I just didn't know how to tap into it. When Instagram started becoming popular, I found it interesting how you could communicate with people through photos and videos.
Then when I started following other creatives, I would wonder how they created using Photoshop or Adobe Premiere. I also started hanging out with other creative people. Then I got myself a camera just to see what I could do.
Then you reach a point where you decide “this is how I want my things to look.” Over time you learn what your style is and it is pretty cool when you reach that point. Learning photography allowed me to show my creative side.
Now people don’t only say “oh she’s good at football,” because I’m also good at this.
Why is it important for you to be able to express yourself in that way?
I’m at the stage in my life where I really don’t care about the opinions of others.
I’m pretty open about things, and that’s what I want my work to show. Especially with my football photography, I want to show pure football - like playing Sunday football on a muddy pitch. We crave to hear those stories.
People ask why I’m playing football; it’s because it’s fun, not because it's my job. It’s a community and when you play professionally you can lose sight of that.
You’re working on a super secret project that ties together your passion for football and creativity. What is the potential for using football as a vessel for change?
You can use football as a medium to do a lot. It’s literally everywhere. By teaching someone to play, it's not about the game as much, but about the relationships you build with people. It’s a sport that really captivates.
Using football together with education and leadership, things can really get better. It’s a way of taking people away from their problems and a space where everyone is welcome.
That’s the great thing about football, people can really develop.
The super secret project that Pato has been working on is Football is everywhere - a visual collection of stories that show the impact of football in everyday life. The first edition takes us to the North of Sweden, so if you’re interested be sure to check it out.