By Kevin Koczwara
The English Premier League’s most expensive signing ever is heading home to Brazil for six months on loan, but is that to say that Robinho will never play in England again? or wear the Manchester City jersey again?
I believe Robinho will return to Manchester City next year, for the first part of the year at the least. But he needs time to think about his life, his future and his place in the world.
And to do that, he needs to go back to Brazil and express himself on the pitch.
The 26 year old Brazilian cost Manchester City a cool £32 million to move over from Real Madrid . And Robinho did not disappoint in his first season with Manchester City. He lead the team in goals (14) and made City a viable threat to the “Big Four’s” strangle hold on European football (The Champions League). He also made them a team to watch, an entertaining team that had an element of class and creativity.
He brought a big name to City, giving them a reputation and a selling point–he is the ground work for all the big moves that have happened, he gave City a reputation. Without Robinho is City a big market team this summer? They have the cash, yes, but they didn’t have a player they could point to and say “you will be paired with this guy, and he will make you much better.” Until the Tevez signing, they were missing that element, the jersey seller, the man that brought in cash for the club.
And now it is time for the struggling Brazilian to move on, for a bit.
Robinho looks like a lost boy on the pitch at times this season. He has shown flashes of skill–the skill he is capable of. But he has also shown that when he isn’t happy, he doesn’t try. Robinho killed my fantasy team this year. He was one of my first picks. I thought “man, Robinho is going to kill this year with all the attacking talent around him. ” But, Robinho got injured, and stay injured, and became disgruntled. (I dropped Robinho quickly in the first month, but for the injury prone Theo Walcott, damn my luck.)
Robinho is moving to Santos, his first club, in Brazil and this move will be good for the 26 year old. He needs to find himself, remember why he plays the game, why he loves the game and why he agreed to move to Manchester City. This is Robinho’s push to play in the World Cup. He needs to prove to Dunga, Brazil’s coach, that he is worthy of keeping his spot and going to South Africa. With Ronaldinho’s hot form as of late, these next few months will be huge for the 26 year old star if he wants to make it onto the starting 11.
At Santos, Robinho will have to use his playing time to prove to new manager Mancini that he is worth the money, and definitely worthy of plenty of playing time. If he proves that he is worth the money that was paid for him, that he wasn’t a bust and that he is worth the money for a move out of England, or at least out of Manchester.
If Robinho can’t recover and play well for Manchester City he will have to find a new home and prove himself again. He has the skill to be the best player in the world, to be a big-market player. But does he have the maturity? Players like Ronaldo, Messi, Zidane, Kaka’s and Rivaldo’s have all stepped up the to stage in the past and present.
And I think Robinho can be one of the best players in the England. And here is why:
- He has unprecedented skill.
- Great pace.
- He is stronger than he looks.
- He has top-class creativity.
- The players that surround Robinho will make his stats fly through the rough.
- He has a great marketing ability–look at that big smile he’s got.
The only piece of the puzzle is a big one. He is missing the Ronaldo chip on his shoulder, the drive to be the best. He is missing that unteachable competitive edge. Maybe Robinho will find it in back home in Brazil. If he does, he has a few good years ahead of him at an up-and-coming club and could set some more transfer records in England in the future.
Kevin Koczwara can be reached at email@example.com