Brazilian forward Alexandre Pato on Saturday bid an emotional farewell to Chinese football after reportedly buying himself out of his contract at Tianjin Tianhai.
The 29-year-old former AC Milan starlet failed to appear in Tianjin's first two games of the new Chinese Super League (CSL) season and had used social media to hit out at what he called "lies", without naming the supposed culprit.
But Chinese media said that the former Brazil international, who joined Tianjin from Villarreal in Spain two years ago, had fallen out with the club and was desperate to leave.
He has now got his wish, bringing a sour end to a spell that brought 36 goals in 60 games and saw him widely praised by Chinese football fans for seemingly settling well in the country and embracing local culture.
Pato -- who has been strongly linked with a return to Brazil -- is now a free agent after paying up the remainder of his contract at Tianjin, Chinese media said.