Robinho: The Sad Story of Another Football Genius

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Robson de Souza commonly known as Robinho, was born on 25 January, 1984 in Sau Paulo.

In his early years, Robinho played a lot of futsal which was responsible for developing his dribbling and acceleration skills.

He signed his first professional contract with Santos FC in 2002 at the age of 18. He made 24 appearances in his debut season and scored one goal as Santos won the 2002 Campeonato Brasileiro.

In 2004, Robinho finished with 21 goals in 37 games and led Santos to win another Campeonato Brasileiro .

His form had brought him to the attention of many European clubs in the summer of 2004.

However his form suffered in the 2005 season, after his mother was kidnapped by gunmen at her Praia Grande home on 6 November; she was released unharmed six weeks later after a ransom was paid.

Robinho scored nine goals in 12 league games, and his value continued to increase as his talent became more and more apparent to the powers of European football. Santos began to realize it would become increasingly difficult to hold on to their star player.

In July, 2005 Real Madrid paid €24million to sign Robinho. He was given the number 10 shirt for Real Madrid, previously worn by Luís Figo. Robinho ended up making 37 appearances and scored 14 goals in his first season.

In 2006/2007 season, he won his first league title wit Real Madrid.

In 2007/2008, Robinho then got injured at the beginning of the second half of the season. He did not recover fully enough to help Madrid against Roma in the Champions League

Robinho secured another league title with Real madrid with a two-goal performance on 3 March as Madrid defeated Recreativo de Huelva away from home.

Robinho was Real Madrid’s third-highest scorer during his Madrid years, behind strikers Raúl and Ruud van Nistelrooy. He was also the player with the second-most assists, behind Guti , and the only Madrid player, along with goalkeeper Iker Casillas, to finish in the top ten of the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations for 2007–08.

Robinho at Real Madrid

Then Real Madrid president, Ramón Calderón had promised to negotiate a new contract with Robinho at the midpoint of the 2007–08 season, which never materialised.

On 1 September 2008, the final day of the Premier League summer transfer window , Robinho completed a €42 million (£ 32.5M) move to Manchester City on a four-year deal. This occurred on the same day the club was bought out by the Arab investment company Abu Dhabi United.

He made his team debut and scored his first Premier League goal on 13 September 2008, in a 3–1 home defeat to Chelsea.

On 26 October, he scored his first Premier League hat-trick against Stoke
City ,and he scored his first European goal for Manchester City in a 3–2 UEFA Cup group stage win over Twente on 6 November.

Robinho finished the season as City’s top goalscorer with 14 and the fourth top scorer in the league.

His second season at Manchester City did not go as well. He missed three months of the season due to injury and only played 12 games in total, scoring once.

Due to this, he fell down the pecking order and sought a move away from the club in the January transfer window .

On 28 January 2010, Robinho returned to his home club, Santos on a six-month loan deal, where he helped Santos win their first ever Copa Brasil title.

Shortly afterwards, Robinho stated that he wanted to remain with Santos rather than return to England. Manchester City, however, refused to extend the loan deal and Santos failed to make a transfer bid.

Robinho returned to training with Manchester City in August 2010, but stated that he was seeking a move away from the club before the end of the summer transfer window on 31 August.

On 31 August 2010, Robinho moved to Milan from Manchester City for a fee of £15 million (€18M), signing a four-year contract.

Robinho scored a brace in the 37th week of Serie- A on 14 May 2011, leading the celebrations of the Scudetto winners after the match.

Robinho suffered a groin strain early in the pre-season against Valencia on 27 July 2013, which disrupted his preparation for the upcoming season. He made a substitute appearance during a second leg European contest in Spain, but was unable to prevent a 5–1 aggregate defeat against Athletico Madrid.

On 6 August 2014, Robinho arrived in São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport and subsequently returned to Santos in a one-year loan deal.
Robinho scored his first goal after his return to Santos in a 2-0 win over Londrina.

On 30 June 2015, after already rescinding his link with Milan in May, he left Santos after his contract expired.

On 16 july, 2015, Robinho signed a six month contract with Chinese super league side, Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao, managed by compatriot Luiz Felipe Scolari.

On 11 February 2016, Robinho signed a two-year contract
with Atlético Mineiro, after leaving Guangzhou a free agent.

Robinho was the highest goal scorer in Brazil in 2016, with 25 goals.

On 23 November 2017, an Italian court sentenced Robinho in absentia to nine years in prison after he and five other males were convicted of sexual assault in the January 2013 gang rape of a 22- year old Albanian woman.

He left the club at the expiry of his contract in December 2017, having scored a total of 38 goals in 109 matches.

On 23 January 2018, Robinho signed for Turkish Süper Lig club Sivasspor. A year later he left Sivasspor and joined another Turkish side, Istanbul Basaksehir. The Brazilian has over 155 club career goals in 507 appearances.

He made his 100th international appearance for Brazil during the 2016 Rio Olympics against Colombia, after winning the confederations cup in 2009.

Also read :Manchester City: All bark and no bite

As a youth, Robinho was tipped to become the next football great. His flair, ball control, attacking instincts and dribbling skills made the Brazilian a joy to watch.

Maybe as a result of inconsistencies, multiple injuries, or off-pitch and personal issues, one would never truly know why the Brazilian gem failed to live up to expectations.

But for Robinho; a player that had the world at his feet, heir apparent to the legendary Pelé and even wore the famous white of Real Madrid, its just a sad story of another football genius.

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