WHY ROBINHO AND MANCHESTER CITY ARE A MATCH MADE IN FOOTBALL HEAVEN
Back in August, the media speculation about Robinho coming to England to play Premier League football was in overdrive. The only club who could realistically afford his wages, Chelsea, looked set to land the want-away Brazilian striker from Real Madrid.
That was, until, Manchester City became the richest football club in the world. Transfer deadline day was dominated by the news that super-rich Arabs had launched a bid to buy Shinawatra’s shares from City and, when the news was confirmed, City immediately went about making an impact by making enquiries in the transfer market for some of the most sought-after names in football. David Villa, Ruud van Nistelrooy and even a cheeky last-minute bid to hijack Manchester United’s Dimitar Berbatov transfer were all names linked with the Eastlands club.
But what hadn’t been anticipated was the activity that was happening over in Madrid concerning City and a 24 year old Brazilian. Chelsea were so confident they had signed Robinho that they had printed his name on hundreds of replica shirts ready for the sales rush from excited fans.
It didn’t happen. In a dramatic last-minute conclusion to an already hectic deadline day, the transfer of Robinho from Real Madrid to the Premier League for a record fee of £32.5 million was confirmed- although it wasn’t to Chelsea, much to Luiz Felipe Scolari’s fury. It was to now super-rich Manchester City, who offered a higher wage package.
Immediately, critics and pundits alike scoffed and ridiculed the very idea that Robinho would be a successful player at Manchester City. His move was slated by Pele, who suggested that Robinho was in need of “some serious counselling” after snubbing the chance to play for Chelsea. In fact, it was perhaps only City manager Mark Hughes that understandably praised the move. Whatever the backlash, Robinho became a bona fide City player and boy, hasn’t he made an impact.
Immediately the City store sold a record number of replica shirts with his name on the back. He scored his first goal, a superb free kick, on his debut against Chelsea and has never looked back. Influential all over the field, a player of his calibre has the ability to create something out of absolutely nothing and leave the opposition players reeling in his wake.
At first, it seemed such an odd move. But now it’s blossomed and flourished and both parties appreciate one another for who they are. Manchester City. The unequivocal darlings of the English media. Although no media outlet would dare admit it, the tabloids all love the drama that resonates from Eastlands on a regular basis. Robinho- the superstar, cocky Brazilian. The man with enough trickery in his arsenal to beat Arsene Wenger’s men 3-0 almost single-handedly.
Robinho has come across as having quite a quirky character too. He has made it perfectly clear that he loves the attention he laps up from City fans: the headline ‘City fans think I’m God’, taken from a popular red-top tabloid, speaks volumes. Missing the start of the Wigan game because he was milking the Blue army’s applause, suggests a player with a very high opinion of himself.
Why not? £32.5 million worth of talent, and it’s proving to be paying off already. Grabbing a hat-trick against Stoke, Robinho outlined his intentions after that game to score 30 goals this current season. He is still understandably struggling with the physical aspect of the game, and does get barged off the ball. But when he’s running at the opposition, baffling them with his samba skill and genius, he is utterly captivating. A joy to have in the Premier League. A joy to watch.
He has also been grabbing the headlines for other, more comical reasons. His deal at City is estimated at £6 million a year, yet he was spotted getting public transport to the Trafford Centre with his girlfriend. He allegedly watches Coronation Street to try and improve his understanding of the English language, leading to him developing a nickname at Carrington training ground as ‘Ken’. When he was appointed captain against Hull City, he took his responsibilities very seriously, approaching the referee every time with caution, hands held politely behind his back when querying decisions. These humorous anecdotes only add to his character and help to soften his cocky persona.
Robinho’s latest display, against Arsenal in City’s 3-0 victory at Eastlands, was nothing short of amazing. His goal was an example of why the beautiful game is so attractive and mesmerising. He links up consistently well with Shaun Wright-Phillips and Stephen Ireland, supplying a dangerous attack for City. A lot of sceptics thought that he wouldn’t want to ‘muck in’ and help his team out, whereas the truth is that he plays a fine team game and encourages everybody playing around him by tracking back and running all over the pitch. His work-rate is exemplary: the home game against Tottenham Hotspur was a fine example of this, a display that saw him rewarded with the captain’s armband at the KC stadium.
What does the future hold for the Brazilian? Rumours are flying around at the moment linking him with a move to Chelsea, but Robinho has spoken out adamantly today. He said: "Chelsea? This question belongs to the past. I'm a City player and I only think about making the club successful.“I don't regret the choice I've made - I'm very happy at the club."
Believe the hype, we’ve got Robinho- and he’s going nowhere.