As I was saying last week, young Robinho was a true gem.
Expectations were sky high in Brazil, the result of the two National Championships he delivered to Santos in 2002 and 2004. He was unanimously the countryÃ¢ÂÂs top football star.
When Real Madrid came sniffing in 2005, fans launched the Ã¢ÂÂFica, RobinhoÃ¢ÂÂ (Robinho, stay) campaign. Young ladies and even grown men united to write letters and letters pleading him not to leave Santos.
Comparitvely, when KakÃÂ¡ left SÃÂ£o Paulo for Milan in 2003 fans booed him, tagging him a Ã¢ÂÂpipoqueiroÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ which literally translates as Ã¢ÂÂpopcorn makerÃ¢ÂÂ but in sport refers to someone that chickens out and fails to perform.
Adored by the fans back home, unlike Kaka
But the clamor didnÃ¢ÂÂt touch Robinho, who engaged in a battle with the Santos board to achieve his dream of playing abroad. He stopped showing up at training until club president Marcelo Teixeira accepted Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂs offer Ã¢ÂÂ Santos didnÃ¢ÂÂt want to sell the pedaladas ace before the end of his contract, but the player left them no option.
If only Robinho knew what was to come in Spain...
ItÃ¢ÂÂs almost a blasphemy to say that going to Real Madrid is a wrong move. Playing for FifaÃ¢ÂÂs top club of the 20th century is the dream of any young footballer.
But to arrive at Santiago Bernabeu amidst the chaos of the end of the Galacticos era proved to be a complete disaster for the Brazilian. After a stunning debut, he only went downhill.
Spanish press kept questioning whether he wasnÃ¢ÂÂt just another tricky player with no commitment or decisive power Ã¢ÂÂ something he failed to prove he was not. The stars were packing up, the merengues were disintegrating Ã¢ÂÂ and Robinho couldnÃ¢ÂÂt dodge the cannonball.
Real Madrid: Right club, wrong time
He didnÃ¢ÂÂt find help anywhere Ã¢ÂÂ not in the board, nor in the coaching staff. In fact, the main thing was that Robinho didnÃ¢ÂÂt help himself. The Santos good kid became a selfish and pretentious best player in the world wannabe Ã¢ÂÂ and, ultimately, since he couldnÃ¢ÂÂt achieve that, a whiny boy.
Then came the Real Madrid-Cristiano Ronaldo affair.
Those who saw the Brazilian during his Santos days know heÃ¢ÂÂs got what it takes to reach the summit. Robinho knows it too. It wasnÃ¢ÂÂt RealÃ¢ÂÂs fault that he couldnÃ¢ÂÂt take the team further than the Spanish League, though.
Being offered as a makeweight isnÃ¢ÂÂt the best scenario, but itÃ¢ÂÂs part of the game, specially if your performances have been poor and the other guyÃ¢ÂÂs flying high. But it was too much for RobinhoÃ¢ÂÂs pride.
I guess Real Madrid would have loved to have gotten rid of him at the first opportunity Ã¢ÂÂ if they had signed a big name player like Ronaldo or even David Villa. Since no one arrived at Bernabeu, well, the solution was to toughen up on the Robinho move.
Happy times ahead at Eastlands with Jo and Elano?
Chelsea handed the deal poorly (the shirt on the website debacle was an offense to Real Madrid) and, when everyone thought Robinho was going to spend some extra months idle in Spain, Manchester City snapped him up. A terrific statement by Sulaiman Al-Fahim and the clubÃ¢ÂÂs new management.
Will Robinho became the worldÃ¢ÂÂs best player at Manchester City? Hardly. But I do think he can raise eyebrows in the Premier League, help to elevate CityÃ¢ÂÂs game and prove to the Europeans heÃ¢ÂÂs the real deal. Then weÃ¢ÂÂll see where he goes from there.
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