Why Did It Go All Wrong for Robinho at AC Milan?

Anthony LopopoloFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2014

Associated Press

Consider how much he has cost.

Real Madrid, Manchester City and AC Milan spent a total of €85 million in transfer fees on Robinho, according to transfermarkt.com. (City, let's remember, also broke the British transfer record to make that signing in 2008.) He is now 30 years old, and his career never fit that billing.

His last chance at European success was supposed to come in Milan. That first season in 2010-11 was successful enough. He won the Scudetto, he finished the year as the team's joint-top scorer in Serie A with 14 goals—which was also his best total in a European domestic season—and he was playing with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and briefly with countrymen Ronaldinho, Alexandre Pato and Thiago Silva.

In the three seasons since, he has scored just 17 goals in all competitions and missed a whole lot of sitters in between.

Yet he still has a smile on his face. In training, he was joking around and looking like he loved life, even if he wasn't starting. That was the biggest sign: He was there for the ride, enjoying his time at a big club.

But as Milan struggled, and as players left, and as he injured himself more and more, Robinho turned into an afterthought, baggage on an already rough flight. It's no longer a compliment to be called the new Robinho (ask Neymar).

Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

This summer looks like the end. Vice President Adriano Galliani confirmed on Monday in an interview with Sky Sport (h/t Goal.com) that offers from Greece and Brazil came in. New MLS club Orlando City also reached an "advanced" stage of negotiations for the player, owner Flavio Augusto da Silva said in an interview with LanceNet (h/t Football Italia).

It is hard to understand what Robinho wants. He does not look like a player with much ambition, only someone looking to make money in any way possible. Every season, Milan try to offload himand every season, they either keep him or re-sign him. 

Robinho makes around €3 million a year, thanks to that latest contract extension. Those wages are tough. He could have sealed a move to Santos, his old childhood club, but club Vice President Odilio Rodrigues told Globoesporte (h/t Goal.com) that it was "difficult for us to meet his financial demands."

So Robinho is not only holding Milan back but also frustrating any potential suitors. He is doing himself and the Rossoneri harm.

It has gone all wrong over the past few seasons, and Robinho is another example of a player Milan tried to rehabilitate, a player on the fringes that they gambled on. 

No return coming on that investment, as has been the case for the majority of his career.