Interviews

The big interview: Robinho – "I had a fight with Craig Bellamy once, but then who at City didn’t?!"

Robinho
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How well did you get on with Fabio Capello? It seemed like you had a hard time convincing him you should be playing regularly…
Roberto Gesualdi, via Twitter

I was given the chance to play by all my coaches at Real Madrid. When Capello first arrived, I was still starting games regularly, but then, for some reason, maybe because of my age, he put me on the bench. I can’t complain about it, he was the coach and that was his decision. I just couldn’t be happy with the role of second-half substitute, being forced to play out of position and mark the full-back.

Do you regret leaving Real Madrid? Were you unhappy that they tried to offer you to Manchester United in exchange for Cristiano Ronaldo?
Tony Simon, Warrington

I don’t regret leaving Real Madrid, but I do regret falling out with them when I moved on, as Madrid was the club that opened doors for me and offered me the opportunity to conquer Europe. Perhaps the way I had to fight my way out erased the memories of some great things I did for the team; I helped them become champions and I think I played well during my spell in the team. But I was really determined to leave and I had an explosive temper, and didn’t give things as much thought as I do now.

What happened regarding the confusion about you signing for Chelsea ahead of your move to Manchester City? How close were you to moving to London instead?
Sarah Davies, via Twitter

My main goal was to move to Chelsea – Big Phil [Scolari] had said I could make the difference for him as his squad, according to him, was not creative enough. But Real Madrid had fallen out with Chelsea – they didn’t like them selling shirts with my name on before the deal had been done. I am pretty sure that this error was one of the main reasons why the transfer failed, as it was a matter of pride for Real Madrid.

And they were also reluctant to let me move to a club that was playing in the Champions League the same season – Chelsea were, but City weren’t. I moved to a great club and they welcomed me in the best way. I had one-and-a-half years of joy in Manchester, despite the city being a lot colder than Madrid!

Did you really believe that Man City’s ‘project’ was going to work?
Bruna Tavares, via Facebook

From the day I arrived, I could see City’s project was destined to be a success and the club would grow – but I didn’t think it would be quite so fast. I didn’t know much about the club before I got there, but I always felt very honoured to have been the first marquee signing. I started well, but unfortunately there weren’t as many great names as there are these days. Man City are the only side I’ve left without winning a title.

What was your relationship with Craig Bellamy like? He wrote in his book there was tension between you both?
Jonny Pringle, via Twitter

I had a fight with him once, but then who at City didn’t? Some other players had problems with Bellamy, too; he was very explosive. In one game we played against Arsenal, I didn't have a great first half so he started yelling at me in English when we got back to the dressing room at half-time. I didn’t understand it, but from the little I could work out, I could tell he wasn’t saying nice things.

Glauber then helped me by pushing him away, and he quickly calmed down. I had just come back from a marathon of a journey to play for Brazil and I was feeling very tired. But it was OK, and he came to me the next day and asked me to forgive him.

It was reported that you used to get the bus around Manchester – would you agree the city has the best bus system in the world?
Jamie Henderson, via Twitter

Probably. It was indeed very easy to go from one place to another by bus and train. As I’m a footballer, people sometimes find it weird, but I have always been very humble and I didn’t have any problem using public transport. I had used it all my life before I became a footballer, so why wouldn’t I use it in a city that had welcomed me so warmly? I would use my car to drive to training, though. I didn’t want to risk being late and upsetting the manager!

What really happened when Man City accused you of going AWOL when you went back to Rio de Janeiro during their training camp in Tenerife? How angry was Mark Hughes at the time?
Alan Brown, via Facebook

The truth is that [Hughes] didn’t honour his word to me. When I arrived at City, I hadn’t had any vacation time and he promised me he’d give me one week to get some rest. I believed what he told me. So when we travelled to Tenerife, I went to him and said, ‘Mister, can I have my vacation now?’ He said, ‘OK’. I packed my things, let the club know that I was leaving and enjoyed a week back home, because he had allowed me to go – he had given me his word.

Did you feel like winning Serie A in your first season in Italy with Milan proved a point to any of the doubters back in England?
Francesco Tarolli, via Facebook

When I moved to Milan, the main aim was to win Serie A and the Champions League. Unfortunately, we didn’t lift the Champions League, but we did manage to reign in Italy once again. We had a great side, with Thiago Silva, Clarence Seedorf, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Filippo Inzaghi and Alexandre Pato.

I don’t think I had much to prove to Man City or anyone in England. I had played well during my time there, but I just didn’t play there as long I wanted – there were some issues. If you want to become a bigger club, then you need more than one or two star names – you need a strong group and substitutes. At Milan, I was surrounded by great players; it wasn’t the same at City.