Robinho: Why I didn't join Chelsea in 2008

Robinho has told FourFourTwo that one of the ‘main reasons’ his move from Real Madrid to Chelsea fell through in 2008 was the premature appearance of replica shirts bearing his name on the Blues’ online megastore.

My main goal was to move to Chelsea. But Real didn’t like them selling shirts with my name on before the deal was 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

Brazilian boss Luiz Felipe Scolari had been keen to bring his fellow countryman to Stamford Bridge to help Chelsea better their second-placed finishes in both 2006/07 and 2007/08, with a £29 million transfer fee believed to have been agreed between the west Londoners and los Blancos.

However, a technical error – allowing supporters to pre-order the club’s new away shirt with the Brazilian’s name on the back before the deal had been done – irked the Spanish giants, who sold him to Manchester City on transfer deadline day instead.

The Samba star is convinced that mistake played a big part in his move to the English capital club falling through, combined with the fact that Madrid weren’t thrilled with the prospect of selling the forward to a Champions League rival.

Portraits: Gabo Morales

Speaking exclusively in the March 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, he says: “My main goal was to move to Chelsea – Big Phil had said I could make the difference for him as his squad, according to him, was not creative enough.

They were also reluctant to let me move to a club that was playing in the Champions League the same season – Chelsea were, but Manchester 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!

“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'm 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.

“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...”

Read the full interview with Robinho in the March 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine. A South American special, we head round to Ronaldinho’s house to hear what the Brazilian trickster is planning next, chat to Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta about learning English while watching Coronation Street, learn that West Bromwich Albion powerhouse Salomon Rondon doesn’t actually like heading and meet up with Bayern Munich enforcer Arturo Vidal. Plus, we find out why Oscar swapped Chelsea for China, look back on the early days of Diego Maradona’s career at Argentinos Juniors, hear some remarkable tales from football’s own Forrest Gump, aka Nelson Vivas, and find out how Chapecoense go about healing a club and local community following November’s plane tragedy. Order it now, and subscribe here!