Roberto Mancini has dealt with top class players before – he had a host of them at Inter Milan after all. But are any of them as moody and determined to get their own way as Robinho? The striker managed to push through a transfer from Real Madrid and now the consensus is that the Brazilian is desperate to leave for Barcelona and is not giving his all for City. Robinho’s first season in the Premiership proved a big success – despite its tail-off in the latter half – but he has failed to find consistency this year and does not look so determined to impress the fans as he did in his debut season with the club. Mark Hughes desperately tried to keep Robinho happy but it is yet to be seen what stance new manager Mancini will take with Robinho.
On the day he came to the club Mancini addressed the matter of Robinho in his press conference, expressing how he would like the Brazilian to stay at the club, revealing
“The important thing for me is that Robinho stays here because he can earn a place in the history of the club. […] Robinho is a great player and I want him to stay with us.”
This comes as no surprise as a player of Robinho’s quality would be welcome at any club in the world. His attitude would not however and Mancini will have already noted that Robinho’s head is elsewhere and he isn’t focused on City. This led to Robinho’s having been dropped for Monday’s clash with Wolves where – regardless of Mancini’s claims that it was just to rest the Brazilian – the Italian showed that he has no qualms about showing the moody striker who’s boss.
The decision to drop Robinho was aided by the form of Craig Bellamy whose good form this season has made him a worthy stand-in for the more illustrious Brazilian and Bellamy has even got through his woes about the departure of Mark Hughes to impress Mancini. The Italian’s hardball stance with Robinho is much easier when players like Bellamy and Carlos Tevez are putting in the performances that they recently have done which makes the team function without Robinho.
But in dropping Robinho Mancini has shown that his team are more than capable of winning without the Brazilian which begs the question; why keep a clearly unhappy Robinho if you can survive without him? Robinho may be liked by a majority of the fans for his flair and style but he’s far from indispensable and his attitude should not be allowed at the club. His petulance seems unlikely to go away so Mancini should get rid of him. But will he? City’s financial state means that they can afford to leave Robinho on the bench all year and not sell him to teach him a lesson as his wages are nothing to Sheikh Mansour. If Robinho’s attitude doesn’t improve than Mancini may well decide to show him who’s boss properly by having Robinho play reserve football – something the Brazilian would hate.
Despite this, it’s likely that Mancini will try to integrate Robinho back into his first team plans and keep him despite the forward’s wishes. Robinho’s future depends on his attitude though as if he improves it and impresses then he will get back into favour with all at City and could leave on pleasant terms whilst if he refuses to cooperate than City can refuse to sell him to Barcelona and deny him his desired move. Mancini holds all the power in this particular battle and Robinho would do well to learn that and respond quickly or he could be on the bench a lot more often.