Will Robinho’s Statement Really Be One Chelsea Want To Hear?

With Chelsea and Robinho both reported as saying negotiations over a possible transfer are ongoing and Ramon Calderon very clearly stating the club have no intention of letting the Brazilian go, today sees Robinho’s second press conference of this summer’s lengthy transfer saga.

Robinho has called a news conference in the Spanish capital for today and all suggestions seem to indicate he intends to publicly try to persuade Real Madrid to let him leave mid-way through his current contract. This news raises two questions for me: firstly, is he actually going to state his reasons for wanting to leave Real as expected, or is this a u-turn where what he’ll actually do is commit himself to the two years he has left? Secondly, despite my total hatred for Real’s sheer arrogance and the utterly shoddy way they treat players – Robinho merely being this summer’s example of that – should Robinho really be pushing quite so hard to get out of a contract I presume he signed without the aid of thumbscrews?

As to whether he really plans to push for a move away from the Bernabeu, well, it’s not surprising the speculation points to this being the case. The 24 year old was reported to have stated only last week that he feels a move to Chelsea would not only be in his best interests but would be better for Real Madrid as well. However, he was also reported to have said yesterday “A lot of things are being published and they are not the truth. We are working to seal my future, nothing else.” So, read into that what you will.

Robinho was left out of today’s squad for the opening Primera Liga game against Deportivo, although coach Bernd Schuster was very clear this was not an indication of the player being sold to Chelsea. Schuster stated “A lot is going on and today it can’t be cleared up. It will be by September 2nd. For us, he continues to be an important player but we have to look at the player’s condition. In recent weeks the pressure around him has been greater, things have been said and the player is not in the right state. Next week when he comes back from international duty, we will be able to deal with him and everything will change.”

So, what can we take from Real’s certainty that Robinho won’t be going anywhere? Put it this way, Robinho’s agent has made no secret of the fact his client has felt undervalued at Real. Not just because they made it crystal clear during the summer that they wanted a replacement for him (even to the point of trying to use him as a bargaining tool to get Cristiano Ronaldo’s signature), but also in monetary terms. And yet Real must be only too aware that Chelsea have offered the Brazilian a hefty increase on what they’re paying him. However, in their failure to land any of the big signings they really wanted this summer, could it be the Spanish club have decided to give him a substantial rise? After all, the way they see it, they’ll get Ronaldo next summer and probably drop Robinho like a stone then anyway? So maybe that’s what Robinho actually meant when he said they were working to seal his future and negotiations were ongoing?

That’s where my suspicions about this press conference are raised anyway. I’d put nothing past Real Madrid, they seem supremely confident Robinho is staying, despite having publicly stated only a week ago they would never keep a player against his wishes, and knowing the egotistical Calderon – with “the most important club in the world” sinking to the new low of being turned down by all and sundry this summer, he’d like nothing better than for Robinho to show how important Real Madrid are by committing his future to them with full pomp and ceremony.

Anyway, if I’m just being far too cynical and Robinho does genuinely plan to use this press conference to state his desire to leave and the reasons for it, this brings me to the second question: is he right to do so? I mean, I’ve no intention to defend Real Madrid here because their treatment of Robinho this summer has been totally out of order at times, however, he did sign a contract and I’ve no reason to believe he did it under any duress, so why shouldn’t he be expected to honour it? Well technically, he doesn’t actually have to because the Brazilian has been at Real Madrid for three years and according to Article 17 of FIFA’s transfer regulations, any player who signs a deal when aged under 28 is able to unilaterally break that contract after a period of three years. But what about morally?

Surprisingly, there appears to be the distinct absence of comments from Sepp Blatter on this one, despite his statement around players being treated like ‘slaves’ earlier this summer. Although, that was about an English team not allowing one of their star players to go to Real Madrid, which is clearly a special case. However, looking at the argument from the other side of the coin, even the man who’s been courting Robinho all summer and had Chelsea utterly convinced the deal was done has stated in the past “No-one is forced into a contract, we’re expected to honour contracts, and our players should be too. Football has to look at this seriously. You need to be able to think, ‘This is not just my team for this season, but these guys are here two or three years.’ If fans thought next year there would be a new squad of 23 players, the game would lose something.”

Certainly, Cristiano Ronaldo was slated enough over the summer without ever stating he didn’t want to play for Manchester United. So, if this is a case of Robinho making a stand and ironically doing exactly what Real Madrid had failed to get Ronaldo to do earlier this summer (i.e. make a public stand regarding his desire to leave), will the Spanish club admit defeat or simply shackle him to the bench until next summer?

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