Whether it’s the English Premier League and the Argentine marketing machine would like people to believe that Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are locks for the FIFA World Player of the Year, I would like to be the first one to offer resistence from this preconceived notion.
Yes, the Portuguese international has the fast track to the award as he will also have Euro 2008 as his exclusive stage there is one player that should have the title locked up by then. Robinho will be the FIFA POY by the time the end of the season comes to a close. His performance on Saturday was a great platform to run on, but it was more his absence that speaks volumes about his play. His performance against Recreativo this weekend says a great deal as to how he changes the dynamic of any game now. It took fifteen minutes to change a bleak scenario into a five-point lead by the time the final whistle blew. He is the oxygen that the Madrid attack needed just a few weeks earlier. Madrid was a squad that did not have that punch while Robinho was absent, but as soon as he was on the pitch their attitude changed completely. At least that was the impression that the team gave. Yes, Guti is on the pitch too but there, but Robinho opens up the game for the rest of his teammates after taking on multiple marks on his side of the field. He can start out as a pseudo-winger and come in down the middle. The difference between him and Messi is that Robinho takes less dribbles to do what he does and obtain results. What he does in one or two touches gets him on the highlight reels just like Messi trying to get past all eleven and a few fans prior to taking a shot on goal.
It did take a few years for him to become asserted in the Real Madrid lineup. He is now invaluable to a team that seems to find that sixth, or even seventh gear whenever the Brazilian is on the pitch. The past year and a half was a breakout year for him. He was a benefactor of Fabio Capello’s change of heart last season en route to their 30th league title. Since then he took over the reigns of the team and now he is getting the notoriety that he deserves. So much has been his improvement that anything less than the highest individual award in the sport would be a travesty.