City can be as big as Real Madrid, says Robinho

Brazilian confident the Manchester club can join former club in European elite
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The Independent Online

Robinho insists Manchester City can become one of the best clubs in the world and has set his sights on winning silverware in his first season at Eastlands. The £32.5m Brazilian has settled well into life in the Premier League, scoring eight goals since his arrival on transfer deadline day, and has lofty ambitions for both himself and his new team.

Mark Hughes' team have nevertheless been a disappointment so far this season, winning just four times in 13 games to sit 12th in the league, well below the aspirations of the club's new owners, the Abu Dhabi United Group. But the 24-year-old Robinho is remaining upbeat about his new life in Manchester.

He said: "I have great ambitions for the team and myself. I want to be the best player in the world and for City to be one of the best teams. The rest of the players and myself admire the ambitions of the owners of this club.

"We all want to strive to make it one of the best in the world. I like the way the game is played here. You still get great goals and great movement. It is a physical game here in England but I can cope with it. I am adapting well to life here. I get on well with my team-mates, they are good players, and I am learning the language. I am in a very good phase and hope this will continue. The best form of my career? Maybe."

While City's League form might leave something to be desired, their exploits in Europe have been more encouraging, and reaching the group stages of the Uefa Cup raised hopes of a successful season at Eastlands. A win against Steve McClaren's FC Twente in their opening Group A game has further boosted confidence in the camp, and Robinho believes there is quality enough within the camp to go all the way to the final – and to one day become as big as his former employers Real Madrid.

"We can win the Uefa Cup, it is one of our targets for this season," he said. "We know we are a side that is developing and growing but we also know we are capable of great things when we play well. I want to stay here for many years and make history at City. Doing well in the Uefa Cup would be a great start. I came to Manchester City because I see them growing and getting bigger. Can they be as big as Real Madrid? Yes, I hope so."

Portsmouth fear Lassana Diarra could be out for three weeks – but will not know until he returns from international duty with France. The £5.5m midfielder limped off after 19 minutes of Saturday's goalless draw at West Ham in the Premier League, after taking the full weight of Scott Parker's mistimed challenge on his right ankle.

The Pompey manager Tony Adams knows the playmaker is almost certain to be out for a lengthy spell, including Saturday's home game with Hull and next Thursday's Uefa Cup match with Milan. Adams said: "Lassana is our most influential player and has turned his ankle. I'm not a physio, but in my experience you are looking at weeks out. At a club like Portsmouth injuries like that have an effect. We haven't got the luxury like the big teams of having a massive squad."

8

The number of goals Robinho has scored for City – and the number of League points they have won since he arrived.

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