The remarkable exploits of Teemu Pukki at the head of the 2019/20 Premier League season might not be as remarkable as first thought. Breakout seasons are fairly commonplace in England; in fact, the entire recent history of the Premier League is littered with players who registered absolutely stunning figures in their first season, only to drop off completely the next year.
It is one of the many mysteries of football, a freak of nature that simply goes beyond any amount of logic or reason.
Given the hype and status of him at the time, there has never been a one season wonder quite like Robinho however.
Touted for years, even by the man himself, as being the next Pele, Robinho had lit up the Brazilian game with Santos, broken into the national team and was rubbing shoulders with greats like Casillas, Van Nistelrooy and Guti at Real Madrid, all by the time he was 21.
His signing by Manchester City with just half an hour left of the transfer window might be have been ambitious and laid down a serious marker for the Citizens, but it was also one heck of a surprise. Rumours had been circulating for months about Robinho’s supposed move to Chelsea, with even the Brazilian claiming that “Chelsea had made a good offer, and I had to accept” during his own unveiling at Manchester City!
Nevertheless, Robinho’s star quality consistently shone through in a side that was still only taking its first steps at the top half of the table. A goal on his debut against Chelsea was the first highlight, with follow up goals against Everton, Hull and Twente coming soon after. His biggest highlight however would come against Stoke City on 26 October where he netted his first, and only, Premier League hattrick.
He finished his first season in England as City’s top goal scorer with sixteen, and their second top assister behind Elano on eight. It was a fine return from the Brazilian international.
However, a rotten attitude soon reared itself on top of Robinho’s shoulders and rumours of training ground walk outs and bust ups with fellow teammates soon began leaking out of the club. It was clear that Robinho had been bought in on the back of false promises and you could see the disgruntlement from the Brazilian towards the signings Manchester City were recruiting at that time.
The following season, Robinho missed out on nearly three months worth of action due to a knee injury and there was soon no coming back from it for the Brazilian. With a World Cup in South Africa looming, the club’s proposed ‘play every other game’ idea was quickly brushed away by the Brazilian and he was shipped back out on loan to his original club, Santos, in 2010.
Robinho in some respects marks one of the most vital chapters in Manchester City’s entire existence. After all, the signings of David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling etc. might not have ever happened had City not been able to get such a high profile addition through the door.
However, to have only lasted sixteen months on the back of a thirty million pound transfer fee is, ultimately, pretty laughable. Robinho had the hype and undoubtedly the talent to be a real success in Manchester, however so many factors seemed to conspire against him, with only some of them being his fault to be fair.
Nevertheless, he earns the title of the most hyped and disappointing one season wonder.