Brazilian star Robinho was one of the first stars bought during Manchester City’s transformation under Sheikh Mansour.
The former Real Madrid man joined Manchester City for a mammoth £32.5 million in a whirlwind transfer window said to have also included bids of David Villa, Mario Gomez and Dimitar Berbatov.
“We have sold Robinho for reasons of a human nature and for sporting reasons. The fact that he has accepted an offer from Manchester City says that he is not going for sporting reasons,” former Real Madrid president Calderon told Spanish television station Veo (via the Telegraph).
A scathing analysis from a man who had conducted a number of high-profile, money-drenched deals in his time.
Robinho would go on to make just 53 appearances for the club scoring 16 goals in the process.
But for us it was not the samba-style quality that made him such a short but iconic figure for Manchester City; or anything to do with the Brazilian’s footballing contributions for that matter. It was his symbolic significance.
Indeed, we are sure many fans would agree with us when we say Robinho’s 2008 arrival marked the end of the classic nostalgia period for lifelong followers; the wave goodbye to average, cult classic players such as Richard Dunne, Jihai Sun, Michael Johnson, Stephen Ireland, Martin Petrov, and Benjani.
He revealed to FourFourTwo years later: “I started well, but unfortunately there weren’t as many great names as there are these days. Man City are the only side I’ve left without winning a title.”
Recounting the time he had an altercation with former Wales international hothead Craig Bellamy, he added: “I had a fight with him once, but then who at City didn’t?
“Some other players had problems with Bellamy, too; he was very explosive. In one game we played against Arsenal, I didn’t have a great first half, so he started yelling at me in English when we got back to the dressing room at half-time.
“I didn’t understand it, but from the little I could work out, I could tell he wasn’t saying nice things.”
Robinho never really bounced back, and after being shipped out on loan to Santos, he returned to Manchester to help push through a move to AC Milan.
Four reasonably prosperous years in Italy where he scored 31 goals and assisted 33 more in 144 appearances was followed by quickfire transfers around the globe; first to Santos, then Guangzhou Evergrande, and back to Brazil playing for Clube Atlético Mineiro.
68 games later, the third most he had played at a club, Robinho found himself in the Turkish Super Lig – first joining Sivasspor, and as recently as January moving to Istanbul Basaksehir at 35-years-of-age.