View Full Version : Robinho lives up to the hype in Real Madrid debut

08-29-05, 02:51 PM
MADRID, Aug 29 (Reuters) - It took Brazilian forward Robinho a little less than 25 minutes to live up to the hype that had preceded his $30-million move to Real Madrid.

Arriving in the Spanish capital on Friday, he completed his first training session on Saturday and then captured the hearts of Real Madrid fans with a spectacular match-winning performance in the opening game of the season against Cadiz on Sunday.

Stepping on to the pitch midway through the second half with the score at 1-1, the 21-year-old's first touch was a "sombrero" -- a cheeky flick over the head of an opposition defender.

Thereafter, he added pace and dynamism to a Real side whose only previous plan of attack had been to give the ball to Ronaldo and hope.

Shortly after creating a fine shooting chance for Roberto Carlos, he set up Real's winning goal with a dazzling piece of individual skill.

Controlling a 30-metre pass from David Beckham with his chest, he swivelled across the edge of the area, left the ball to Ronaldo who burst into the box and unselfishly slipped a pass to Raul to poke into the empty net.

Two minutes from time he left defenders sprawling in his wake when he unleashed his trademark step-over or "pedalada" before setting up a great chance for Ivan Helguera who hit the bar with his close-range shot.

"I'm really happy to have made my debut," Robinho told reporters. "Everything went very well and I felt very comfortable on the pitch. It was important to start off with a win."

Robinho's new team mates were clearly impressed with what they saw.

"All I ask is that he is given the ball because he is spectacular when he gets it," said Helguera. "The team really noticed it when he came on. He opened up the opposition defence and gave us a lot more options up front."

Brazilian full back Roberto Carlos agreed with his fellow defender. "He's only just arrived and everyone has now seen what he is capable of doing," he said. "He's quick, skilful and has proved he has the talent to play at Real Madrid."

The Spanish media were no less fulsome in their praise of the former Santos player. "Robinho, the saviour," was the headline in sports daily AS, while El Pais said Real had been transformed when he stepped on to the pitch.

"He took no more than a second to sow panic amongst the opposition defence," Santiago Segurola said in his match report.

"Step-overs to the right, step-overs to the left, he gave a ceaseless exhibition of skill and movement for which there was no antidote."

Barcelona-based daily Sport simply described the young Brazilian's debut as "The Robinho Revolution."