Former Man City boss reveals embarrassing details over Robinho transfer
Former Manchester City boss Mark Hughes revealed an embarrassing detail about Robinho’s move to the club in 2008.
The big-money move came as the Brazilian left Real Madrid following City’s takeover by their current owners.
While they have since pushed on to become the dominant team in English football, for several years they went toe-to-toe with Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, not always emerging victorious.
One of their first moves was to sign Robinho from Real, and speaking to William Hill, Hughes conceded that the forward did not even recognise him when they met, and might have actually thought he was joining United, not City.
He said: “The first day of the takeover being complete came as a surprise for me because I was out playing golf! I was playing with some of the staff because it was a day off, but I was getting these phone calls from Gary Cook, who was the CEO at the time, telling me that the takeover was happening and that they wanted a marquee signing to mark the new ownership of the club.
“They just asked me, ‘who do you want?’ They had a load of bids out for pretty much every top player in the world. They had just put all of these bids out to see if anyone would actually come back, but people forget that at that time, Man City were a mid-table Premier League club – mid-table to bottom if we’re honest. There weren’t that many takers because players were thinking, ‘Man City, who?’
“They had all these bids out and nothing was happening, then all of a sudden they had a little nibble from Robinho and Real Madrid,” he continued. “We had to try to make it happen and I knew the Real Madrid coach at the time, Bernd Schuster, so I was on the phone to him asking if there was any chance of letting Robinho speak to us.
“It was a crazy day, there were bids going out for Lionel Messi and all sorts! We finally managed to get Robinho over the line which was a hell of a statement, and the rest is history. There’s probably a grain of truth in the rumour that Robinho thought he was actually signing for Manchester United. He certainly didn’t recognise me when he turned up, he was probably expecting to see Sir Alex Ferguson at the airport! He was probably a bit disappointed to say the least.”