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Footballer Profile – Robinho
Robson de Souza – known throughout the football world as Robinho – has been perhaps the biggest surprise in Manchester City’s much-hyped bid to break into British football’s elite. When the Brazilian signed for Real Madrid on the last day of the transfer window in the summer of 2008, it alerted everyone to the seriousness of the club’s new owners’ intentions. He was a true superstar at the City of Manchester Stadium.
Robinho was always destined for great things – even the incomparable Pelé raved about him as a fifteen-year-old. Playing for the famous club Santos, who represented the legendary Pelé for so long, ‘Robi’, who was born in Sao Paulo in 1984, quickly became their goalscoring talisman. However, the kidnapping of his mother from her home in the 2004/05 season had a real impact on his life – although she was released unscathed, it seemed inevitable that he would leave the country to join other high-profile Brazilian players in Europe. At the end of the 2004/05 season, the player was named the young player of the year in world football.
The move came in July 2005 when Robinho signed for Real and scored 10 goals in his first season. Although his undoubted ability was always evident at this time, it was also clear that the player was struggling to adapt to life and a different style of football at his new club. With Fabio Capello and later Bernd Schuster, Robinho was never a regular starter for the Spanish team, although he continued to feature in the Brazil team.
The player’s time in Spain came to an unsavory conclusion. Madrid tried to include Robinho as a “counterweight” in Cristiano Ronaldo’s move from Manchester United against the player’s wishes. When the deal fell through and the Madrid hierarchy decided to offer him a new contract, Robinho turned it down.
Despite looking set to sign for Chelsea, Robinho ended up at Eastlands and Manchester City, seemingly encouraged to join the club as they already had two other Brazilians on their books, Elan and Jo.
Since signing for Manchester City, Robinho has become a huge fan favorite – helped by being seen riding the bus into town with his wife! Many critics felt during his first season that his performances were far better in games at Eastlands than away from home. Still, he scored 15 goals in 41 games. However, this season the squad has been significantly strengthened by the acquisition of more top players, Robinho has been the victim of a serious ankle injury picked up for Brazil, missing most of the matches.
With Brazil, Robinho remains an important member of the team, scoring 19 goals in his 71 internationals so far, and is almost certain to be an integral part of Brazil’s bid to win the World Cup in South Africa this summer.
Who Robinho will play for then is anyone’s guess! Since his arrival, he seems to have been linked with moving away. Manchester City have consistently denied they are on the way to Barcelona, Chelsea or any number of other clubs. City fans will certainly be hoping to see the skilful small forward link up with Adebayor and Tevez to help the club realize their ambitions and qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Who knows? If they manage to do that, perhaps Robinho could be there again next season.
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