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How Can Manchester City Solve A Problem Like Robinho?

It was the marquee signing that announced that Manchester City had money to burn and were determined to usurp the comfy old pals act at the top of the Premiership. Fans flocked to Eastlands in tea-towels to show their new Arabic allegiance and the shock that seemed to follow such a transfer.  £32.5 million had brought Robinho from Real Madrid to Manchester in a matter of hours and English football was in shock.

At first, the plaudits rained down on the little Brazilian as his pace and trickery dazzled the fans and replica kits bearing his name flew out of the club shop. Sheik Mansour had offered the highest profile player he could lay his hands on as that frenetic day came to a conclusion with City making bids all over Europe. The City fans were in raptures but every silver lining has a cloud.

For some reason, Robinho’s form began to tail off and soon it became evident that he simply didn’t perform away from Eastlands. Almost anonymous for most of the away games he appeared in, it took until April last year for the player to finally turn it on in an away game. Facing a tough trip to Goodison, he was effervescent throughout the game and showed true glimpses of his undoubted skill. 9 months later, a game at the same opponents has Robinho’s critics sharpening their knives.

I don’t think anyone can honestly understand how low a player feels when you join as a  substitute only to be then substituted. It sickens you to the stomach, unless injury has forced you off and that can still rankle as much. Similarly to being substituted at half time, the effect on the footballers psyche is deep and unremitting. To put it bluntly, it hurts like hell and everyone can see it. Pride and shame bubble up from deep inside you, you hope a giant hole will appear to swallow you up but it never arrives.

This event happening in a Sunday morning pub league is bad enough but in front of 37,728 fans and millions more watching around the world it’s almost catastrophic. The effect can be spirit crushing, especially for such a precocious and mentally delicate player as Robson De Souza clearly is. I appreciate that Mancini has to be strong and coming from Internazionale, he is used to dealing with the largest of ego’s but is Robinho egotistical or simply one of those players that constantly needs to be told how good he is? For me it’s the latter.

It’s difficult to explain why some players constantly need to be told how good they are, despite all the evidence pointing to the contrary. Everyone knows they’re good, so surely they must realise it also? It doesn’t work like that, inside your head, you don’t think like that, you don’t think you are that good, you don’t think you can do it every game. Think that’s infuriating for a fan? How do you think the player feels?

Away from home, opponents can figure out players like this, it’s easy. A bit of needle, a few choice words, a foot left in the tackle a little bit longer than it should be or a body check is all it takes to get the player questioning himself. At home, the fans can make you shake the cobwebs out of your head, clear your mind and get you focused back on your abilities and shut out the opposition and their fans baying for your blood.Away from home, it is a very different ball game. Robinho can be talked out of a match away from Eastlands.

Just because someone cost £32.5 million doesn’t make them immune to bouts of self doubt or a loss of confidence or form. Robinho is clearly a confidence player who needs an arm around the shoulder to keep him on side. Regardless of the image and the wages, it’s the battle inside your mind that makes you the player who you really are. Once Robinho can deal with his own self doubts and lack of confidence, then he will truly unlock all of his potential. Mancini needs to show patience and guide him, rather than chastise him.

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  1. nick

    August 25, 2010 at 8:23 am

    errr realized this was an an ancient story rofl

  2. nick

    August 25, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Manchester City are very stupid if they get rid of robinho. They dont need the money they have the room why rush to get rid of him?

    plus he wasnt given a fair chance last season he was injured for awhile then came back form injury and played poor in the first 2 matches back from injury. thats normal when a payer coms back from an injury you cant expect him to play amazing right away. City thought they can have a miracle and have robinho just comeback from injury and magically be at top form instantly. so anyway after the couple games or so robinho was consistantly benched. How is your star player going to play well when you dont consistantly play him so he can regain his fitness and form? Man City didnt give him that chance cause their so damn impatient.

    in the short sub appearances he made last season he played great for example 1 game he came on in like 80th minute or so and like nto even 1 minute later he creates a goal for carlos tevez with a beautifil ground pass. He did in 1 minute on the pitch more than the rest of the time did for 79 min.

    give him another chance especailly now that he is in his top form from WC itll be a huge mistake to let him go only logicaly reason to let him go is for getting ibrahimovic (if they have to use robinho to get ibra).. even than wait till january play him especially now that he has lots of stars around him plus when u saw robinho and tevez play together last season that had amazing chemistry. robinho tevez and balotelli would be a lethal combo.

    give him another chance he wasnt treated fairly and wasnt given a proper chance.

  3. tom

    January 19, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    The fact remains that the best of the best are able to deal with these challenges and overcome them. He is being paid like a world class player but unable to consistently perform like one; really just shows he is overvalued. He’s got great talent but until he can come to terms with the challenges he’ll remain on the cusp and an expensive flop

    • nick

      August 25, 2010 at 8:09 am

      how when he isnt given a chance? he was unfairly treated and u know it read my bigass post

  4. robert

    January 19, 2010 at 1:25 am

    interesting perspective. got me thinking. we’ve all heard the “tear-them-down-before-you-build-them-up” philosophy. maybe mancini is doing just that. give the kid a hug and start him next game. see what happens.

    …and your “silver linings have clouds” line was a nice bit o’ craft.

  5. joker

    January 18, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    For Citeh to have the kind of success they want, they need to learn to manage players like Robinho. I have followed his progress from Santos, and on his good day, he is the best striker at Citeh, but unfortunately he is quite immature. To get the best out of robinho, you need to play him to his strength, and also make him feel wanted. He is good enough to hold down a starting berth for the Brazilian national team. Robinho is not your typical EPL player and does not have the physical strength to battle it out with the likes of Tevez or Bellamy, yet in an attack that gives him space to run at defenders, he could be quite deadly. Having him in a 4 man attack that involves Adebayor upfront, Robinho and tevez on the flanks and Ireland in the middle is the kind of system he would thrive on. The hustle bustle approach is not his thing. Also one must remember that Robinho had fellow compatriots like Elano and Jo when he arrived, but with the exit of those two , he likely feels his days are numbered. Hughes mismanaged Robinho and its up to Mancini to mend things. As evident at Everton, Citeh cannot rely on Tevez keeping his scoring form forever, and need the contributions of Robinho and Adebayor to secure the CL spot. All mancini needs to do is convince him that he is wanted.

  6. brn442

    January 18, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Apart from Juninho, Brazilians and Northern English Clubs usually work out as well as a fur coat in Rio. The weather is horrible, the food is even worst, and the football actually requires hard work. It’s clear that Robinho went to the City for the cash, fair enough, but unlike Tevez he’s not willing to work week in week out to earn his, and based on his unauthorized trip to Brazil last year, it’s clear the man had/has no respect for Mark Hughes or the Club.

    Now that the promised Calvary has arrived in the likes of Bellamy, Tevez, and Adebayor; you may think the Brazilian would challenge himself (especially in a World Cup Year) to achieve things with a team that he can make history with, like Maradonna did with Napoli but alas, fighting for his place is something he doesn’t think he should have to do, luckily for City, they can cope without him for now. Credit to Mancini for subbing him off after he came off the bench, one of most humiliating things a footballer can experience, in this case probably fully warranted.

  7. USF FAN 1

    January 18, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    It was a meager performance on Sunday…long stretches of zero impact and lack of commitment. Not sure how you turn around his value or form at this point.

  8. Tyson

    January 18, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    He moved for the money any player that moves with his primary motivation being money looks deep and hard at himself eventually.

    I think the biggest example of this is Beckham. He recently talked about leaving Manchester United and he made it very clear if he could go back in time he would have ignored the temptation of money and stayed with United for his entire footballing career.

    Robinho was a player that was having problems at his last club and they came to him with large sums of money and he signed the contract almost instantly.

    He showed his talent but he came to realize it wasn’t where his heart belonged eventually and now he feels like an idiot for signing for a club for large sums of money.

    Football takes so much out of you, you just can’t do it for a shallow motivation you have to love what you do to carry on performing at a top level.

    Another example of this is Ronaldinho who fell out of grave at Barcelona but is now playing exceptionally well at AC Milan.

    Robinho isn’t the only one underperforming when you spend more than any team before you has spent in relation to how much the club is worth you expect to win something. That hasn’t been the case at all.

  9. Mr Bluesky

    January 18, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    I, one of many was extremely excited when we signed the icon ‘Robinho’ Unfortunately I believe the Premier League is too tough for him, I don’t mean that disrespectfully but I think Spain or Italy suits his game and talent far more than our league. He shys away from tackles, he obviously values his future most probably playing abroad more so than giving 100% to City. For these reasons I think it probably best if he is moved on – perhaps to Barca with one or two coming in the opposite direction. Good luck Robbie whatever happens.

  10. Brian

    January 18, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Hahahahaha! Send him out on loan. Hope he does well and decides he wants to play well. Negotiate a final sale come summer and wave goodbye!

  11. Chris Beckenham

    January 18, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    As a City fan, I have had many conversations about this.
    I honestly feel the main reason for buying Robinho, was not only for his undoubtable talent, but the name. Robinho was one of the reasons all the rest of our big name’s arrived at Eastlands. He was one of the attractions.

    Now we have many other big names, I believe his job his done. I wouldn’t mind if he went in this transfer window. I would rather have one of our talented youths playing in his place.


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