A regular for the mighty Selecao and a star at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Robinho has enjoyed a successful career at the international level. But success has not been forthcoming at club level for the former Santos prodigy.
Signed by Real Madrid for the 2005-06 season, Robinho had been hailed as the next big thing to come out of Brazil’s seemingly never-ending line of world class footballers.
But his time at Real Madrid has largely been regarded as a failure by many, despite the fact that in his three years at the club he was the club’s third-highest goal scorer, with only legendary strikers Ruud Van Nistlerooy and Raul ahead of him. He was also the club’s highest assist provider, second only to Guti in this same period.
Nonetheless, for the player that he was hoped to become, Robinho’s failure to establish himself as one of the indispensable stars of the Bernabeu ultimately led to the general perception in Madrid that he did not live up to his reputation.
Perhaps due to matters other than football, too, Robinho was on the outs in his last season, even though he contributed a reasonable 15 goals and eight assists in all competitions. In the end, he was sold off to Manchester City where things only got worse for the young Selecao star.
Though life at Manchester City did start brightly for Robinho, who scored 14 goals in 30 Premier League starts in his first season, in his second season, which turned out to be his last, he managed to score one measly goal after his return from a lengthy lay off because of injury.
By this time, Robinho was deemed surplus to requirements at City, and again he pushed for a move away, this time back to his home country Brazil to play for his beloved Santos.
At Santos, Robinho did enough to remain one of the main protagonists in Dunga’s Brazilian side for the 2010 World Cup, where he played a starring role. Upon his return to England in a move that came as a surprise to many, he was brought to Milan by Silvio Berlusconi just before the close of the August transfer window.
Despite a slow start, Robinho has been steadily improving for the Rossoneri. Initially he was only used sparingly by Milan Coach Max Allegri, but in recent weeks, he has forged himself into the first team, perhaps thanks to the injuries to Pato and Filippo Inzaghi.
For a player whose club career has not exactly gone as planned, the now 26-year-old Brazilian had lost some of the swagger and confidence of previous years. But given the injuries to the aforementioned Milan players, Robinho has been given the chance to play regularly and build up his confidence.
Having started in six of Milan’s last seven matches, Robinho is starting to show some of his amazing potential that at one stage of his career had the football world enraptured. He is also regaining some of his old confidence too.
Perhaps the world has yet to see the best of Robinho. Having settled in well with the Rossoneri, thanks to the significant Brazilian contingent within the squad, it is time for him to indeed show his best.
With Filippo Inzaghi ruled out for the rest of the season, Alexandre Pato’s proneness to injury and the fading out of Ronaldinho at Milan by Allegri, there will never be a better chance or time for Robinho to fulfill his potential and prove himself at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Milan fans will be hoping that he continues to improve with every game and maybe even become one of the more influential players for the Rossoneri.