The War for Robinho

Robinho wants out at Real Madrid. If you didn't think he was serious before, you should now.

The Brazilian held his own new conference -- seriously? -- today to publicly reveal his desire to join Chelsea.

"The situation has not changed," Robinho said. "I want to leave Real and play for Chelsea. I am only thinking of Chelsea and want to play there.

"Since May I have been trying to renew my contract, but they didn't want to know because they were so sure of signing Cristiano Ronaldo. Now they haven't signed anyone they don't want me to go."

Sounds about right.

Robinho went even further, making the claim that he might just sit out an entire season if it facilitates a move away from Madrid.

"If I have to spend a year without playing I will do it," he said. "I will recover because I'm young, I'm 24 years old, and it is destiny. [But] I am not going to refuse to play, I have a contract. If they made me play I would, but I would not be happy.

"Before I thought I would be here for 10 years, but now that is not possible and I only want to leave. The coach [Bernd Schuster] thinks that he can change my mind, but in my head I have joined Chelsea. Until now I have not had any problem with him [Schuster]. The president [Roman Calderon] and Mijatovic [Predrag, director of football] are allowing me to go, the club is in agreem ent with me, but not Schuster because he has promised to retain me. If he thinks this, it's his problem, I don't want to continue at Real Madrid."

Well, Real see things a little differently. The club released its own statements today, criticizing both Chelsea and Robinho for their parts in this fiasco. Madrid attacked Blues management, arguing that Kenyon & Co. pursued the 24-year-old striker/winger despite Real's unwillingness to sell. Sounds familiar, huh?

"Madrid profoundly regrets the behaviour of the directors of Chelsea who, despite knowing that our decision was to not sell the player, have continued to make gestures and comments, even going so far as to sell the player's shirt on its website. All of which has served only to make the situation more difficult and mislead public opinion."

So, pursuing players against a club's wishes is wrong? Hmm. That whole thing with Cristiano Ronaldo, what was that? Another point, it's been made painfully clear that Calderon & Co. have negotiated with Chelsea over the transfer. How do you criticize a club for pursuing a player you have obviously made available at least to an extent? Also, how many of your own players have suggested a deal to move Robinho would be best for the club? Seriously, Real kills me; its reputation dwindles by the minute in this realm.

So, Chelsea clearly took Madrid's comments with a grain of salt, releasing its own statement later in the day: "There is nothing wrong with publicly confirming our interest in a player when the club involved is well aware of it, has been in receipt of bids and is negotiating to sell the player. We completely refute any criticism from Real Madrid.

"As for the issue regarding the website [advertising the Chelsea shirts adorned by Robinho's name], Real are well aware this was a regrettable accident by an external supplier which was rectified as soon as it was brought to our attention and not a single shirt was sold."

Of course the whole Chelsea shirt ordeal is a hilariously arrogant, stupid move. But, at least they admitted it and I can't see how that could play a role in the transfer or a disenchanted player.

Real directly a little more wordage toward Robinho, calling the player selfish in more intricate terms.

"Just before an important official match, Real Madrid feels that all of its attention should be focused on the game, a criteria that has been completely ignored by its player Robinho, with the statements he made just hours before the match."

Schuster, the biggest proponent of keeping Robinho at Real, even lodged an attack.

"Today is not Robinho day, it was our day and the game is what is important. What Robinho does really does not interest me. He does not deserve the attention," Schuster said.

Hmm, an interesting twist to say the least. Could this be the final piece to the transfer puzzle. Somehow, I doubt it.

A simple solution
Sell the player. Neither club wants this type of press at the moment, and the only logical conclusion is for Real to cut their losses and accept the 28-30mil Chelsea have offered. It's less than 2mil off what the club has been widely reported as seeking for Robinho and, after today's happenings, it would be a much better alternative than holding onto him when he could end up causing more harm than good. Hell, at this rate, if Real do keep Robby, he could end up emerging from the tunnel at the Bernebau in a Chelsea jersey just to prove a point.

I guess we'll find out just how this tragedy plays out in the next 24 hours. Stay tuned.

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