AC Milan are the latest club to spend a fortune on Robinho, following in the footsteps of Real Madrid and Manchester City.
The Brazilian arrived in Europe with a big reputation following his time at Santos where he starred alongside Diego and Elano, but he has never come close to living up to the hype. His natural ability cannot be disputed, but rarely has he used his talents for the benefit of the clubs he has played for since leaving Santos. At times Robinho appears to be playing for himself.
Watching him in action brings back memories of a young Joe Cole: all the tricks and flicks you could ask for, but often leading to a loss of possession rather than a killer pass or a goal. Perhaps Robinho needs a Jose Mourinho (as Cole did) to get a grip of him and turn more of those step-overs and clever little touches into an end product.
Robinho has started brightly in both Madrid and Manchester, but doesn’t seem able to sustain this level of peroformance over a longer period. There’s no reason to think that things will turn out differently in Milan.
He doesn’t help himself either: Robinho forced through his move away from the Bernabeu and later admitted his regrets about his behaviour. In his defence, he was poorly treated as Los Blancos were more than happy to trade him in as part of a deal to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United.
However, the fact remains that Robinho cannot be considered a success so far in European club football. Over 80 caps for Brazil show that he can’t be a bad player – but he could certainly be a more effective one.