Robinho's Bewildering Dalliance With MCFC
The vast majority of our die hards across Planet Blue gave up trying to make sense of Robinho's 'swingometer' statements the day his helicopter landed in Santos...
The signals he sent out at the turn of the year as he headed for a loan transfer were as final as they could possibly be from the brilliantly talented Brazilian.
His time at City was up and there was to be no turning back if he could possibly avoid it. The quicksilver but quintessentially Premier League lightweight player had made his seemingly final appearance in sky blue at Scunthorpe in the FA Cup last January with a goal backed by many a sigh of what could have and should have been.
Only five days earlier he had deliver as wretched a non-performance as they come at Goodison Park, suffering the ignominy of coming on as an early substitute only to be replaced himself on the hour mark by Roberto Mancini such was his hopeless inability to stamp his talents upon the game. We'd seen that lack of endeavour before and Mancio had clearly done his homework.
Yet Robinho had exploded into the English top flight in September 2008 with a memorable free kick against Chelsea, was clearly enjoying his football and his rapor with the Eastlands faithful was in perfect sync.
So what went wrong? As the pitches grew heavier and the tackles flew in from the more uncompromising teams, his body language began to show that he didn't fancy this much and knocks and tweaks became commmon place.
Mark Hughes had begun to lose patience and a bizarre undeclared Tenerife training camp flit back to Brazil incensed the erstwhile Blues boss. City clearly did everything they possibly could to make Robinho as contented as possible in Manchester and this was a factor that irked a large section of Blues who began to feel he was taking liberties at our club's expense.
The flagship signing of His Highness Sheikh Mansour's era at Manchester City had become all at sea. In time, City finally aquiesced to the by now want away star's wish to go home and off he went to Santos and a 'dream return.'
Yet fast forward to the start of the 2010 World Cup and Manchester City through a lot of hard work, outstanding fans support and stability have just completed their finest ever Premier League season and served notice that we are back on the footballing map, tantalisingly close to joining the European elite.
Robinho, whose brilliant performances for Brazil have so frustrated City fans since his amazing arrival from Real Madrid suddenly offers out an olive branch to the only football team to come from Manchester. Speaking from the Brazilian HQ in South Africa, he had this to say:
'I honestly don't know what will happen at City. We will just see what happens over the summer but I haven't ruled out a return.
First things first. The only thing on my mind now is helping the Brazilian team to win the World Cup.
'But I thought Manchester City were a good choice for me. I understood the reactions when I joined them. People thought I was going for the money but if it was then I would have gone to Dubai or an Arabic country. But I wanted to play in the Premier League and I was happy to join a club with big ambitions.'
Quite a turnaround from the less erratic "future lies elsewhere" thus far this year. The skilful forward then went on to reveal his respect for what City have achieved in almost qulaifying for the Champions League a year ahead of the schedule set by shrewd Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak:
'They have the money and ambition to make it into the top four in England. And, believe me, next season City will. Maybe I'll be there to help them. When I moved to City a lot of Brazilians did not really know much about the club and they thought it was a step down. But I'm now thinking that people think it was the right decision for me.'
City fans worldwide will be shaking their heads with a large dose of disbelief at these words, but dare I say it, heartened by the fact that a reknowned 'galactico' publicly rates us.
An immensely popular figure around Carrington when he was in town, Robinho's well documented departure from the City squad was filmed by the official site and all the signs were that he'd be missed. Was homesickness the sole factor in his desire to leave or was it that he just couldn't handle the demands the most punishing league in the world put upon him?
We'll probably never know, but for now, despite voiced approval of a move to Turkey, Besiktas and a potential Nicolas Anelka style footballing rehabilitation, Robinho hints at a willingness to return to MCFC.
This correspondent quite honestly can't make head nor tail of it all. Half of me says bring him back with a clean slate and a chance to right many wrongs. But my darker side doesn't want to even entertain the idea.
One certainty remains this week. Within days Da Souza Robinho will be showing the world precisely what he is capable of with Manchester City's name alongside his in a superstar squad list.
Would you be happy for that reality to stay that way by the time the first whistle goes in August?
Give us a shout both here and in the VMC Forums...
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