Date: 9th February 2010 at 2:48pm
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Lets go back to the good old days of the 2008/9 transfer window and City have just pulled off one of the transfer shocks of football history aligning them with such clubs as Real Betis.

Betis of course came to prominence over a decade ago when they signed arguably the last ‘next Pele’ from Brazil in Denilson.

The impish wing wizard had forged a glowing reputation with some dazzling displays for both club and country and ‘that’ Nike advert had made him into arguably the hottest property of any of the Brazilian Globetrotters.

Looking back now his time was a huge failure and some years later, after returning from a stint in Brazil, he returned to Europe to play in the Greek league for AO Kavala in Greece where he is plying his trade today.

In Greece at this very moment there are hundreds of mercenaries who after some success at larger clubs have come for the money, sun and sea.

AO Kavala, a team from one of the most obscure parts of Northern Greece, with their suitcases of money have managed to lure many of them this season with the likes of Denilson, Smolarek and Rincon eager to take the money and lap up the Mediterranean sun.

There are of course some genuine footballers. The first young loan stars like Joe Hart sent out on loan to improve themselves and come back stronger players.

The second are the unknown players from far away corners of the earth who have made it this far on hard work, luck and scouting networks like Yaya Toure from the Ivory Coast or McDonald Mariga of Kenya.

Then there are those masters of their trade who play for the love of the game and the pure adoration of the crowd al a Rivaldo who went to Greece and played his heart out for the final few years of his glittering career.

Youri Djorkaeff and Ali Bernabia were of the same mould and gave everything to the cause for as long as their legs would allow them.

Then there is Róbson de Souza or Robinho. Starting out at Santos like so many of his brethren, dancing and tantalising his way through the Brazilian Super League full of natural talent and enthusiasm.

Then the most glamorous club in the world came calling, and I’m not talking about City this time, turning him instantly into one of the most recognisable faces in world football.

Now, its at such times that people’s character really come to the fore as they show their talents and intentions. After all, they have achieved a dream.

Its like a gambler winning the lottery or a chocoholic finding Willy Wonka’s final ticket or maybe Steven Reid finding half a Mars bar under his couch, as these men are footballers.

Robinho has marketed himself as the golden boy of Brazilian soccer with his boyish good looks, charming smile and gentlemanly conduct on the pitch.

After a decent start, in which he scored some mesmerising goals attempting to become the world’s best player, the smiling assassin saw his career stall after a series of lack lustre displays and off field antics.

Once untouchable cracks have begun to appear and even his most ardent of supporters like Pele thought it right to criticise him publicly about his lifestyle after disappointing the uber-expectant Brazilian public.

The real fun started whilst being benched at Real Madrid and the smiles and pro-Real statements of content were marred by independent and shameless self-publicizing in an attempt to find another suitor for his talents.

His ‘piece de resistance’ came in a press conference that he’d set up to tell his story and of course force Real’s hand into selling him to the highest bidder- City.

Contrast his time at Real Madrid to his time at City so far and you can see similarities in how the little Brazilian has carried himself. At the clubs he goes to he seems to say what the players and fans want to hear.

Forget the rape accusations, late nights out and going AWOL form last year’s winter break in Spain to go back to Brazil.

For there are worse examples from more contemptible footballers – Amir Zaki, Joey Barton and Marlon King come to mind.

What is much worse than is off field shenanigans are the double agent style turn of phrases the Brazilian has now become famous for.

The latest tour to Abu Dhabi being an excellent example, when he was pictured meeting the club’s hierarchy all airs and graces. All seemed well and both the club and its supporters seemed to be getting what they’d hoped for.

‘I am extremely happy to be at City and look forward to achieving both the club’s and my potential to be the best in the world’ Robinho said.

Once out of the camera’s eye however his stance changed and the following week he was shamelessly promoting a move away in a foreign newspaper, Barcelona being the latest at that time.

Of course just like at Madrid a series of abject performances resulted in the Brazilian being dropped to the bench in what was to be the beginning of the end.

Sent out on loan to Santos for sixth months he has lost no time in repeating his former feats of fantasy. This time he chose a Hollywood entrance landing with Pele in a helicopter at the Santos ground his name resonating around every orifice of the stadium- sound familiar?

His latest comments come after a debut goal when the Brazilian cheekily finished off a Santos move with a back heel. He followed it with some badge kissing of the highest order before claiming he will be the best player at the World Cup come summer- shameless really.

Talking of his latest manager’s tactics, Robinho told the Daily Mail:

‘He has a different way of thinking. In Brazil, the coach respects the player’s characteristics.

‘In Europe, they are used to playing with two lines of four players and they don’t want to know what you can do.

‘There, if you are a forward, the coach sends you on to the pitch just to run. You have to run and that’s it.’

Not the most courteous any more is he, of the man who only yesterday reached out another olive branch in a message of support for his troubled star.

Mark Bowen gave a more telling insight into his former charge’s attitude at City

‘He took a lot of stick, but he did massively under perform, especially away from home,’

‘I just thought that, physically, he wasn’t really up to the challenges of the Premier League.’

‘We always felt he could possibly blossom and get used to the Premier League but he wasn’t really up to the week in week out challenges.’

One things for sure the Robinho City Circus has yet to reach its final destination and who’s to say how it will turn out for both the impish Samba star or Manchester City.

Once the jewel in the crown at City, albeit self-proclaimed, the real question is do any of us really care anymore? This Blue certainly doesn’t.

See you in Greece in a couple of years!


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