Is Robinho now regretting his move to the ‘wrong’ side of Manchester?
LIKE much in this sporting life, if something sounds too good to be true then it normally is. Which brings us to Robinho, and Manchester City.
It was on transfer deadline day last August (2008) when the-then 24-year-old Brazilian signed on the dotted line.
Some £32.5-million was to change hands in a British record deal as the ambitious striker pursued his dream of becoming the best player in the world.
Then, he said he was leaving Spanish aristocrats Real Madrid for a big club in the English Premiership because he needed game time.
He needed to be more than a player being used in a “squad system”, whereby he required a starting role more often than not.
There were sniggers among the assembled press corps when Robinho was unveiled to the world as a Manchester City player on September 2 last year.
Remarkably, Chelsea had been clubhouse leaders to land the Brazilian’s signature, with City swaying his mind in the final hours before the midnight transfer deadline.
Robinho had seemed certain to move to Stamford Bridge, telling a press conference two days before his change of mind that, “I am only thinking of Chelsea” as he attempted to engineer a move away from Madrid.
The sceptics reckoned that perhaps Robinho had got the wrong Manchester. One reporter wanted to know why the striker had made the dramatic move.
“On the last day, Chelsea made a great proposal and I accepted.” The reporter replied: “You mean Manchester, right?” “Yeah, Manchester, sorry!” answered Robinho.
The clear inference is that Robinho thought he was snubbing Chelsea for a move to Manchester United, but instead of pulling over the red shirt of the Old Trafford giants, he found himself donning the Blue of the Eastland wannabes. Too late to change his mind. A player with pace and trickery, Robinho is some talent, but he needs the egos of a big multi-million pound dressing room to make him feel at home.
He wants to be sitting next to Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney or Dimitar Berbatov when he laces up his boots, not Stephen Ireland, Gareth Barry and Martin Petrov.
He wants to be challenging for the League title and the big European prize, the Champions League, not sitting in sixth position on the Premiership table, duelling for a place in Europe among the second tier of teams.
Recently, just 15 months into that four-year signed contract, he has been making overtures to leave.
He recently told a Brazilian radio station: “I’m very happy about the interest that Barcelona have in me, playing in the Nou Camp it is much easier to be the best player in the world than at City.”
At the moment he is still recovering from injury, with manager Mark Hughes feeling that the striker might be ready for selection against Liverpool next Saturday, but in the meantime he has been spotted painting Manchester, er, red.
“It’s normal for me to want to go out. My wife, Vivian, lets me go anywhere I want to go. I go out and she stays at home. I have been with my wife since I was 15. She is the woman of my dreams, the woman of my life,” he told the local newspaper, which is always looking for scandal and sensation.
Robinho will be part of the Brazil national team that heads for 2010 in South Africa as the tournament favourites. What is less certain is which club he will be affiliated to. However, the most certain aspect of all this is that, for all the cash that Manchester City has to splash, the real powerhouses in their part of the world wear red.