Robinho on the Brink of the Century – But Where will he Rank?

Robinho on the Brink of the Century – But Where will he Rank?

Brazil have, rather famously, pieced together five World Cup-winning squads over the course of an illustrious history which has captured the imagination of the wider sporting world. During that time, some of the finest players the planet has ever seen have graced the famous yellow and green of the Selecao, from Pele to Ronaldo, Rivellino to Ronaldinho, Carlos Alberto to Cafu. There are, however, just four talents – iconic figures one and all – with more caps for their country than Robinho. While that sinks in, it is worth pointing out that Brazil’s leading appearance makers of all-time are Cafu (142), Roberto Carlos (125), Lucio (105) and Claudio Taffarel (101). Between them, they have five World Cup winners’ medals, five Champions League crowns and countless other domestic and continental titles. To be fair to Robinho, he has been part of title-winning squads in Brazil, Spain and Italy, while lifting the Copa America and Confederations Cup with his country, but the biggest prizes of all have eluded him and question marks remain as to how he will be remembered. There will, unquestionably, be a place for him within the hearts and minds of Santos supporters, and many followers of the Brazilian game, but it is difficult to shake the feeling that his is a tale of what could have been. At 31 years of age he still has time to produce a happy ending, with it possible that he will form part of a squad gunning for a sixth global title at Russia 2018 – an event many an international football betting market will have them handily placed in to emerge victorious. It could, however, be that he is entirely out of the picture by that point. Bursting onto the scene as a preciously gifted teenager, it was always going to be merely a matter of time before he was lured to Europe by the riches on offer under the brightest of spotlights. Real Madrid should have been the making of him, inheriting Luis Figo’s number 10 jersey to cement his standing as the rightful heir to Pele’s crown – having emerged through the same system to be touted for big things. It never really happened for him in Europe, though. His spell in Spain was relatively successful, while more could probably have been made of his time at Manchester City had he had the patience to see their project through – imagine how prolific a South American triumvirate of Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Robinho could have been had he hung around for another couple of years. He did not, and the rest is history. Keeping himself in the Brazil fold since then deserves some credit, as does racking up 99 caps. With there still 16 games to come in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying, Robinho really should reach a century of appearances at some stage, with it possible that he could pass Taffarel and Lucio directly above him in the appearance roll of honour. When you consider that performers such as Ronaldinho and Kaka, those of a similar ilk and available through the same generation, have failed to hit such a landmark, you do have to sit up and take notice. There are, however, glaring omissions on his CV and a sense that he will never be held in quite the same regard as those he sits alongside among the great and good of Brazilian football – perhaps through no fault of his own, but with an acceptance that he probably could have done more. By Karl Middleton -

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Brazil have, rather famously, pieced together five World Cup-winning squads over the course of an illustrious history which has captured the imagination of the wider sporting world.

During that time, some of the finest players the planet has ever seen have graced the famous yellow and green of the Selecao, from Pele to Ronaldo, Rivellino to Ronaldinho, Carlos Alberto to Cafu.

There are, however, just four talents – iconic figures one and all – with more caps for their country than Robinho.

While that sinks in, it is worth pointing out that Brazil’s leading appearance makers of all-time are Cafu (142), Roberto Carlos (125), Lucio (105) and Claudio Taffarel (101).

Between them, they have five World Cup winners’ medals, five Champions League crowns and countless other domestic and continental titles.

To be fair to Robinho, he has been part of title-winning squads in Brazil, Spain and Italy, while lifting the Copa America and Confederations Cup with his country, but the biggest prizes of all have eluded him and question marks remain as to how he will be remembered.

There will, unquestionably, be a place for him within the hearts and minds of Santos supporters, and many followers of the Brazilian game, but it is difficult to shake the feeling that his is a tale of what could have been.

At 31 years of age he still has time to produce a happy ending, with it possible that he will form part of a squad gunning for a sixth global title at Russia 2018 – an event many an international football betting market will have them handily placed in to emerge victorious.

It could, however, be that he is entirely out of the picture by that point.

Bursting onto the scene as a preciously gifted teenager, it was always going to be merely a matter of time before he was lured to Europe by the riches on offer under the brightest of spotlights.

Real Madrid should have been the making of him, inheriting Luis Figo’s number 10 jersey to cement his standing as the rightful heir to Pele’s crown – having emerged through the same system to be touted for big things.

It never really happened for him in Europe, though.

His spell in Spain was relatively successful, while more could probably have been made of his time at Manchester City had he had the patience to see their project through – imagine how prolific a South American triumvirate of Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Robinho could have been had he hung around for another couple of years.

He did not, and the rest is history.

Keeping himself in the Brazil fold since then deserves some credit, as does racking up 99 caps.

With there still 16 games to come in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying, Robinho really should reach a century of appearances at some stage, with it possible that he could pass Taffarel and Lucio directly above him in the appearance roll of honour.

When you consider that performers such as Ronaldinho and Kaka, those of a similar ilk and available through the same generation, have failed to hit such a landmark, you do have to sit up and take notice.

There are, however, glaring omissions on his CV and a sense that he will never be held in quite the same regard as those he sits alongside among the great and good of Brazilian football – perhaps through no fault of his own, but with an acceptance that he probably could have done more.

By Karl Middleton –

Image via goal.com

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