Robinho must grow out of crying game to justify record transfer fee

The 'new Pele' played a major part in Real's two recent La Liga triumphs but could not handle his lack of status at the club, writes Pete Jenson in Madrid

The road never ran smoothly for Robinho at Real Madrid , right from the kidnapping of his mother that almost stopped his £17m move there three years ago to the Brazilian coach and mentor who signed him being sacked a few months after he arrived.

Long before it all ended in tears this week, literally if the Real president, Ramon Calderon, is to be believed, there were signs that the club and Robinho were just never going to hit it off.

Pele set the bar for the 21-year-old who arrived at Real from Santos in 2005 when he proclaimed: "This is the new Pele". Stories of Robinho being booked in Brazil for incitement – five stepovers in front of a full-back who finally lost his temper and lashed out – added to the myth.

His 24-minute cameo in his debut as a substitute in Real's win over Cadiz just three days after he landed in Spain increased still more the feeling that something special had just begun.

But, played as a central striker by Wanderley Luxemburgo, he weakly bounced off central defenders as Real struggled in La Liga. Luxemburgo, who had also been Robinho's coach at Santos, was sacked. Without the kingmaker, the boy who would be king was suddenly back to just being a boy.

That is how he was treated at the Bernabeu right up until his departure – patted on the head when he scored a good goal, never given the contract he felt he deserved and ultimately lined-up as a makeweight in the failed attempt this summer to bring Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United to the club.

After Luxemburgo left in December 2005, Robinho was taken under the wing of his fellow Brazilians Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos but they both left the club the season before last.

Stories of Robinho arriving for training smelling of alcohol were leaked to the press as, under the now England manager Fabio Capello, Real continued to be concerned about their failure to get the best out of someone who all the while remained a first choice for Brazil.

Robinho took to leaving training via a ground-floor window to avoid meeting the Spanish press. His agent, Wagner Ribeiro, intent on getting him a big money move out of Madrid – even, as it turned out, if that meant exposing his client to a season of Uefa Cup football – became his closest friend.

The final straw, and by far the best weapon in Ribeiro's battle to take Robinho from Real, was the club's transparent willingness to write off their Brazilian winger as part of the Cristiano Ronaldo deal.

When that fell through last month there was still no willingness from the Spanish champions to raise Robinho's salary to anywhere near the level he was asking for and the sorry tale came to an ugly head on Sunday when, perhaps now behaving like the child he felt he was being treated as, he put his cap on backwards and told the world's press that Bernd Schuster, his coach, was "not his dad" and could not tell him what to do.

While he may never have been the new Pele, Robinho did contribute more than his fair share to the successive La Liga title triumphs Real have enjoyed in their last two years.

On countless difficult away grounds he would conjure up some magic to give Real a narrow victory and, although he faded somewhat last season, before he got injured in January his form was as good as anyone's in La Liga and Real were telling everyone who would listen: "We told you so."

The prodigy must now try to fulfil his potential in the Premier League. "I've never played in England before and I want to show everyone what I can do," he had said before a Champions League game against Arsenal in 2006, already displaying a desire to perform in front of English fans.

"You need time to adapt. We are used to a slower pace with more touches of the ball. You have to get used to a very strong, physically demanding game in England."

He is also prepared for the pressure that will come with his massive price tag. "There is always pressure wherever you go," he says. "I'm used to it because I was in the Brazil team very young and that means having to perform in every game."

The man crowned "king of the step-overs" or bicicletas as they are known in Spain, finally got on his bike.

"Get Lost" screamed the front page of one paper here that had led with "And God created Robinho" the day after his spectacular debut.

Divine or dire? At 24 the man dubbed a crybaby by Real Madrid still has plenty of time to make it the former.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor