Robinho has recently revealed that the loan-return to his boyhood Brazilian team, Santos, required a rebuff of not only Manchester City, but also Barcelona. That Robinho would turn down offers from two of the richest clubs in the world to return to São Paolo is perhaps simply a testament to the extent of his own disgruntled relationship with European football. But I personally hope that Robinho’s move is also a sign of the growing economic strength of South American leagues.
Robinho’s choice was certainly, at least partially a sentimental one, with the added benefit of convenience (as well as climatic considerations?):
I had an offer from Barcelona, but they wanted to bring me in on a transfer and Manchester City didn’t want to sell me. Then they wanted me on a loan deal but it wouldn’t have been good to take my whole family, look for a house and be there only six months. It’s different in Santos, since here I have a house and all the rest.
Having failed to establish himself as Man City’s first-choice striker, Robinho chose his homeland as the place to maintain his fitness and solidify his position in the national team in the lead-up to the World Cup.
In doing so, Robinho added his name to an impressive list of top-tier, world-class players who have shunned European leagues in favor of playing in their homeland. Adriano, Ronaldo, Riquelme, and J.S.Verón (and to a maybe lesser extent, Vagner Love) can all (arguably) be counted among the world’s best players, and are all playing in for South American teams. Verón’s story is particularly nice: after 11 years in Europe, he returned to his boyhood club, Estudiantes de la Plata, and led them to win the Argentinian Apertura in 2006 and the Copa Libertadores in 2009. The 34-year-old midfielder also won the South American Player of the Year award in 2008 and 2009.
It may just be a coincidence that the aforementioned list of heavyweights are all playing back in their native lands, but it is heartening that in a year in which big money has been such a central force in European soccer, the modest economic liquidity of South American leagues can acquire such quality players.
On an absolutely opposite note, it is also somehow great to see erstwhile Boca Juniors mystical forward, the pseudo-Krsna-locked Rodrigo Palacio scoring this diving header for Genoa.
How long until a spat with the manager, lack of good steak in Genoa, and/or the rising financial strength of the Argentinian league drive him back to Buenos Aires?
It’s kind of an anti-Africa movement; this is not right. There is still in the so called ‘old world’ a feeling that ‘why the hell should South Africa organise a World Cup.’ Why the hell? It was easier for them to go down to Africa, the colonialists in the past hundred years, to take out all the best, and now to take out all the best footballers. And when you have to give something back they don’t want to go. What’s that? It is a lack of respect, a lack of respect for the whole of Africa.
Positive Monday vibes unto our readership! What with CAN ’10 concluded, here at BOLAS & BANDEIRAS we are finding our new editorial legs. Consider the challenge answer’d!
Well it was surely an eventful weekend in Brazil! 26 y/o teenager Robinho returned on loan to his original club Santos, after an extended bout of sulking at Manchester City (not unlike his extended sulk at Real Madrid…or, um, his extended sulk at Santos before moving to Madrid?) Well, he’s touched down in São Paulo, and it’s quite a party! This video (part of the extremely unsettling trend of stadium based Welcome! parties for new signings [even 6 month loans?]) has everything: a helicopter entrance, Pele, horrendous baile funk-meets-heavy-hop interludes, as well as some energetic Peixe mascots (Santos’ nickname=the fish).
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There was also utter heartbreak yesterday in the Rio de Janeiro state championship (Campeonato Carioca) when high-flying Fluminense (undefeated and yet to concede a goal) faced off against hated eternal rivals Flamengo (who tiptoed in the backdoor to win the Brasileirão title in December) in the Fla-Flu, Brazil’s biggest derby. Flu’s “team of warriors” had miraculously saved themselves from relegation last year, and hadn’t lost a domestic match since losing 2-0 in last October’s Fla-Flu. Flamengo (Brazil supposedly-most-supported club) are coming off their first title in 17 years, and recently signed yet-another Europe-fleeing former Brazil international in the form of Vagner Love.
What about yesterday’s game you say?! Well, Flu took a shock 2-0 lead and then, errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, puke:
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