Santos or Swim? Robinho Has A Choice To Make

robinho santos or swim

Numerous reports have one-time wunderkind Robinho fleeing Manchester City for Santos, the legendary Sao Paolo club where his career began. The loan deal could see Santos youngsters Paulo Henrique Ganso or Neymar don sky blue. Manager Roberto Mancini has stated that, while concerned about a lack of depth at forward, he would not stand in Robinho’s way. While it is common for older players, such as Ronaldo the First and Roberto Carlos, to leave Europe’s elite leagues behind to return home at the end of their careers, such a move would be a tad strange for a player in his prime like Robinho.

Despite his chequered tenure at Eastlands, the September 1, 2008 Robinho signing signaled a massive turning point in Manchester City’s history as it showed the seriousness of new owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Many Premier League clubs have witnessed the arrival of supposed deep-pocketed foreign owner saviours, including Man City itself under Thaksin Shinawatra. The Robinho signing signaled Sheikh Mansour’s willingness to spend whatever it takes to bring Man City into the upper echelon.

The fact that Man City might well hardly miss Robinho is a sign of how far the club have come since last season. Robinho leaves with his football progress stunted, his reputation damaged and his spot at the World Cup unsecured.

His departure will again raise questions of the Premier League’s ability to absorb South Americans. The usual reasons mentioned in any discussion of this topic include the weather, the food, the language barrier, the culture shock, the more physical football style, the weather and the weather. The Guardian points out that every Brazilian who has won Fifa’s World Player of the Year has received the award while at only one of four clubs, Real, Barca, Inter and Milan. Still, assimilation is not a problem for the Premier League alone. Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski, in Soccernomics (Why England Lose in the U.K.), spend a chapter discussing the general incompetency that most clubs display in absorbing foreign players. While the Premier League does not have an illustrious history of South American success stories (Asprilla anyone?), it remains a thoroughly international league, with more than 300 foreign players from more than 60 countries. Old notions die hard; Robinho’s exit says more about his own ability and maturity than it does about South Americans in the Premier League. One need look no further than Robinho’s soon-to-be-ex-teammate Carlos Tevez for proof positive that a world-class South American can thrive in England.

American fans take note, MLS club Red Bull New York is scheduled to play a Santos side that could well include Robinho in a March 20th exhibition match that will open their new ground in New Jersey.

10 thoughts on “Santos or Swim? Robinho Has A Choice To Make”

  1. I think he made a rash decision when moving from Real Madrid to City.

    The move did pay off for City at first though because he played exceptionally well. When he was on the ball he was referred to as “The Robinho Show” and his credentials include playing for Real Madrid as previously mentioned so you can’t take anything away from him.

    Again though he moved for the money. A man can only play for so long when his primary motivation is money. He was in a decline a few months after he got sick of counting his £ notes and I’m sure it will be the same for all the other money hungry players city has bought.

    Fact of the matter is it is a tough sport you can’t play with money being your primary motivation this is why these Brazilian kids leave home and travel half way around the planet to play for clubs they used to watch on TV as young children. Theres a beauty about football that can’t be summed up in monetary gain and unfortunately foreign owners who don’t understand the sport are destroying whats left of the sport.

  2. Agents must love World Cup seasons. It’s the perfect excuse to unsettle a player. It’s a really weak move on Robinho’s part. It shows no ambition whatsoever – just the easiest option available to him. The quicker City can get rid of him the better really. If I was Sheikh Mansour I’d fly him out to Brazil myself.

  3. I agree with the section of Soccernomics you mention, how clubs fork out tens of millions on these players and then do nothing to help them adapt. What a waste. In the business world companies hire relocation advisers that help their people adjust to new countries.

    If Man City had spent maybe 20 or 40 thousand on a relocation expert to help Robinho adapt to England it may have saved them from this massive loss in their investment.

  4. As I’ve said in my last post – Brazilians (Juninho excepted) and Northern English football do not mix.

    Quakes, you are wrong – many clubs do try to help footballers assimilate as much as possible, Robinho is’t some kid that just got off a plane from sunny Brazil, he has been in Europe for years. Unfortunately, Clubs can’t help a player that’s simply lazy, unmotivated, or quite frankly – unprofessional. It’s a disgrace when anyone who makes well in excess of 100,000 pounds a week “needs motivating”. The man was no picnic in sunny Spain and offloading him to a desperate Man City was the best move Madrid has done in a while. If the likes of Dwight Yorke and Tevez, can make it in Manchester, so can Robinho.

    It’s about being focused and professional, Kaka is, Adriano wasn’t. Many footballers think they will be young and in demand forever. Anelka was a complete twat when he was at Arsenal, he tried the same stunt at Madrid and learned the hard way that no one is indispensable. Now, he just puts his head down and gets on with it, credit to him. Man City should let Robinho go on loan, then take as much of a loss as they can afford to by offloading him in the summer.

  5. I don’t think it was rash for him to go. Real wanted rid and City were the ones who came in – he didn’t really have a choice or (indeed) much knowledge of it.

    He is a total class act when he is on top of his game and is easily the most gifted player in the Premiership today in terms of technical ability. However, in terms of application, desire and work-rate he can be woeful.

    There are plenty of Brazilians in the Northwest (Rafael, Fabio, Anderson at United, Lucas, Aurelio, Cavalieri at Liverpool, Sylvinho at City and until recently Jo at Everton). So it isn’t as if there is not a community of footballers for him to bond with, nor is it as if Brazilians can’t flourish in the North of England (or indeed South Americans – look at Tevez, for instance).

    That said, some individuals might still not acclimatise to the nation. Remember Tevez has been here a lot longer and has Mascherano (apparently, his best mate) for company.

    I think that Robinho thought that either (a) City would improve more quickly than they have and he’d be in the Champions League already/soon (b) that it was a stop-gap and one of the big guns would come in and save him… remembering that he was only there for the reason outlined above anyway.


  6. while i agree that Robinho is very gifted, I think his size is the biggest detriment to his success in the Premier League. Tevez is built like a bull. Robinho would likely flourish were he to return to La Liga or go to Serie A where he’d have more time on the ball.

    1. Sorry Coachie, his attitude is his biggest detriment, size has nothing to do with it, Juninho wasn’t exactly huge, was he? I do agree with everything else you’ve said. Robinho’s style is probably best suited to the continent, also – Brazilain players are larger and robust than they look, Kaka looks like a bible salesman but he’s built like an….

  7. Torres is about 6 foot 1. I guess it’s all relative but I wouldn’t put him in the same group as Fabregas, Walcott, or Tevez.

    What all those players do have it common is that they all possess a desire to win the ball, have incredible pace, and aren’t afraid to ran at people.

    What Robinho possesses is an ability to do step-overs that get him nowhere, give up on balls not handed to him on a plate, and throw his arms up at other players.

    Funny – he did start out rather well. If he didn’t act like such an idiot (see above paragraph), you’d almost feel sorry for him and the plunge in form.

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