The story of Robinho
Robson de Souza, more commonly known as Robinho, was born on January 25, 1984, in the city of São Vicente, on the coast of São Paulo. As a skinny five-year-old boy, living in a poor area, Robinho already attracted attention when he had a ball at his feet. It was at this time that he gained the nickname “Neguinho do Cemi”, which roughly translates to “little black kid of the cemetery”, because when he wasn't kicking a soccer ball around, he looked after cars parked in front of the Cemetery in the Bitaru neighborhood.
When he was six years old, he started to play for the Beira-Mar team. In 1993, at nine years of age, he went on to play for the Portuários futsal team, where he scored 73 goals, calling the attention of many scouts. It was not long before the young Robinho was invited to play in the Santos futsal team and soon moved on to play soccer at the club. He then passed through the youth development programs, at the time supervised by the king of soccer, Pelé, who allowed the talents of Robinho to flourish in anticipation of the athlete's future success on the Brazilian soccer fields.
2002/03 - THE STEPOVER KING EMERGES
With the blessing of the king of soccer, Robinho made his debut in the Santos professional team. His first game was against arch-rivals Corinthians, with Santos winning 3-1. But the best was yet to come and at the age of 18, Robinho, alongside Diego, Elano, Léo and other revelations at the club, took Santos to the 2002 Brazilian Championship title, ending an 18-year drought.
In a memorable final against Corinthians, Robinho starred in one of the most remarkable games in the history of the Brazilian Championship. With a combination of technique, speed and nerve, the number 7 shirt stepped over the ball eight times in front of the experienced Corinthians full back, Rogério, who became disoriented and gave away a penalty. Robinho took the penalty, scored and opened the way for Santos to take the title. After this maneuver, in addition to being Brazilian champion, Robinho earned another title: the Stepover King.
In 2003, the club reached the final of the Copa Libertadores, losing in the final to the Argentinian side, Boca Juniors. Robinho again was one of the stand out players in the competition.
2004 – ANOTHER TITLE
A highlight of 2004 was the achievement of another Brazilian title. Even after losing some talented players to European teams and the distress caused by the kidnapping of his mother, causing him to go eight matches without playing, Robinho led the team in the competition, scoring 21 goals in 37 games, and was Brazilian champion for a second time, firmly securing his place in the Santos hall of fame.
2005 - Real Madrid
After national title success, the Stepover King was signed by Real Madrid in a transfer of around $50 million, one of the largest ever in Brazilian soccer. Robinho wore the number 10 shirt at Madrid, joining the squad known as the Galacticos, alongside Ronaldo, Zidane, Roberto Carlos, Raul, Beckham and others.
In the Merengues, Robinho helped to win the La Liga in the 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 seasons, the latter being one of the major highlights of the club.
2008/09 - Manchester City
In September of 2008, Robinho moved to Manchester City in a $40 million transfer, ushering in a new phase of major signings at the English club. Robinho made his debut with a great goal from a free kick against Chelsea and followed this with a string of fine performances. With 14 goals in the 2008/09 season, the Brazilian was the star player for the Sky Blues in the Premiership.
The 2009/10 season didn't start well and after misunderstandings with the City manager, Robinho opted to return to Santos. A choice that was clearly the right move.
2010 – GOING BACK TO ROOTS
On loan to Santos until August 2010, Robinho returned to the team, serving as a solid reference to the new generation of talented players at the club.
Wearing the number 7 shirt, Robinho led a powerful attack alongside Neymar, André and Paulo Henrique Ganso. Playing beautifully and offensively, Santos scored goals galore and put on some great shows, once again becoming the sensation of Brazilian soccer. On this return to his roots, Robinho lifted two cups for the club, the São Paulo State Championship and the Copa do Brasil, both as captain. This was followed with the honor of being selected to play for the Brazilian national team in the 2010 World Cup.
2010/11 - Milan
After the 2010 World Cup, Robinho left Manchester City and signed a contract with AC Milan for four seasons. In his first season, Robinho, along with other stars in the team such as Ronaldinho, Alexandre Pato and Ibrahimovic, won an 18th Italian title for the club. Robinho finished the 2010/11 season as one of the stand out players of the team and joint top scorer at Milan.
BRAZILIAN NATIONAL TEAM
Robinho took part in the Olympic team and also played a few games with the main Brazilian team. He then began to establish himself in the national team during the 2005 Confederations Cup, ensuring his place in the squad that would play in the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Copa américa - 2007
Without Kaka and Ronaldinho, who both requested exemption from the tournament, Robinho had the responsibility of being the only star player in the team, and he didn't disappoint. With memorable matches along the way, including scoring 3 goals in the game against Chile, Robinho led the team to the final, defeating the much fancied Argentina 3-0 and lifting the cup.
Robinho was the top scorer at the end of the tournament and won the best player award.
In Germany 2006, Robinho played in every game and was in the starting lineup in the game against Japan which was considered Brazil's finest in the competition. The team would go on to lose to France in the quarter-finals of the tournament. Robinho came on the field with 10 minutes of the game still to play, when the team was already losing 1-0, and he could do little to turn the situation around.
Under coach Dunga, Robinho was the most selected player in the squad. His place in the starting lineup for the national team was guaranteed during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. After a consistent performance, the Brazilian team was eliminated in the quarter-finals against the Netherlands. In a game full of twists and turns, Robinho opened the scoring for Brazil, but the team suffered a turnaround in the second-half of the game and, with a player sent off, couldn't find the strength to react.
MANO MENEZES AT THE HELM
With Mano at the helm, the national team entered a phase of renewal, mindful of the 2014 World Cup which will be held in Brazil. Robinho continues to be a frequent figure in team selections. After the Copa America in 2011, the AC Milan player was out of soccer for a considerable amount of time due to an injury. Now fully recovered, Robinho is looking forward to performing at the highest level for his club and aspires to return to wearing the Brazilian shirt in 2012.
- In his two spells at Santos, Robinho never lost a game to Corinthians, the club's biggest rival.
- One of the soccer fields at the Meninos da Vila Training Center at Santos FC was named after Robinho. The soccer player received a similar tribute from his first team, Beira-Mar, where the former club headquarters, now a public sports center, is named after him.
- Robinho is a father of two boys, Robson Jr and Gianluca, both the fruit of his relationship with Vivian Juns Guglielmetti de Souza.
- When he arrived at Manchester City, Simon Hart, a supporter of the club, had Robinho's name tattooed on his chest.