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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Ibrahimovic, Pato and Robinho was arguably Milan’s last great forward line: how fun was it to play in?
Stuart Watford, via Facebook

I had a lot of fun with them. We also had Ronaldinho, who didn’t play a lot then, as well as [Filippo] Inzaghi and [Andrea] Pirlo. What a great side we had, I still miss those days. We found the chemistry on the field very quickly. I had four wonderful years in Milan, won the Serie A title and was happy.

What’s your best Zlatan story?
Jeff Ball, via Facebook

Actually, Milan’s former president Adriano Galliani told me that it was Zlatan who recommended they sign me. He had respect from the board, having just signed there from Barça, which was when Galliani told him there was the chance of also getting me, too. According to Galliani, Zlatan then said, “Go and bring him, he’s a phenomenon, we’re going to work well together and score the goals the team needs.” He used to joke with me, saying, “You are here today because of me.”

You spent a few months playing for Guangzhou Evergrande – what is the appetite for football like in China? Can you see it becoming the biggest league in the world in the future?
Daniel Beagan, Cheltenham

Football is growing fast in China – the foreign managers working there are doing a lot to help develop the game and raise the level of coaching. I had a great experience at Guangzhou and could see them improving. A few years ago it would be very unlikely for a top player to accept an offer from a Chinese club, but now they can challenge even the biggest sides in Europe. There’s so much money being spent by the clubs that you don't even think twice if you have a chance to move over there.

What’s the music like in China?
Rich Esteves, via Facebook

Damn, they were very cool at my club; I put samba songs on in the dressing room and they all used to listen to them and enjoy them. But dancing... er, I don’t think so.

You have played in La Liga, the Premier League and Serie A – so which league was the best and why?
Dean Manley, via Twitter

The best and most organised league is the Premier League. The stadiums are always full to capacity, the pitches are always good and the teams are always trying to attack. However, I think the one I enjoyed playing in most was La Liga. I’d say the league in Spain is like a better version of the league in Brazil, in terms of pitches and organisation.

Was Copa America 2007 your best moment with the national team? What was it that went so right at that tournament in Venezuela?
Samuel Mitchell, via Twitter

No doubt, at least individually speaking, because I was top scorer and finished as a champion – there’s nothing much more to say. But I think that when you get on the pitch, you want to help your colleagues, and you can do that in many different ways. Back in my time, the four big names that we had in the frontline were all on a very high level: Ronaldinho, Kaka, Ronaldo and Adriano. There’s no need to make any comment on them.

In 2007, I was the protagonist, top scorer and champion, but I also helped out in other competitions we won – the Confederations Cup in 2005 and again in 2009.

Do you think that your old mate Neymar will be able to surpass Lionel Messi, as well as Cristiano Ronaldo, to become the best player in the world?
Marcos A, via Twitter

Our relationship is great, we get along really well. As a fellow Brazilian, I always hope he can achieve more day after day. He’s the one among us that has the most potential to be the best in the world – he carries the No.10 of the national team and also plays for Barcelona. But we all know that it is not easy to beat Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – they’re both at such a high level, scoring 60-70 goals per season.

What will you do when you retire? Will you become a coach one day? And if you could do any other job in the world, what would it be?
George Richards, via Facebook

I don’t think about that much. Maybe I’ll become an agent, or will work with young footballers in academies. I want to help footballers the same way that I was helped early in my career. Away from football, I’d like to be a musician, especially a samba one – I like to play the pandeiro and cavaquinho.

This feature originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe!

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