After a difficult spell at Manchester City FC, Robinho took the decision to sign for AC Milan and, as a regular starter in Massimiliano Allegri's side, the gamble looks to have paid off. "Every match I play I become more settled," he told UEFA.com.
Having spent the second half of last season on loan with his first club Santos FC, Robinho joined the Rossoneri in an €18m transfer-deadline-day move last August, at a time when the Italian media were still abuzz with news of Zlatan Ibrahimović's arrival at San Siro. The Sweden striker and former FC Internazionale Milano player may have continued to hog the headlines, but in his six months at Milan Robinho's influence has been equally effective.
"Everything is going really well – the way they treat Brazilian players in Milan is very good and every day I become more settled," explained Robinho, who has acclimatised to life in Italy with ten goals in 25 Serie A appearances. "The team are playing very well. We are happy we are top of the league. Of course there are still many matches left, but in my first season I feel I'm adapting well. I hope to carry on like this until the end of the season."
The Rossoneri, five points clear at the Serie A summit with ten games to go, hope to end their seven-year wait for a Scudetto, and Robinho is no stranger to title glory. In three campaigns at Real Madrid CF between 2005 and 2008, he won the Liga twice. "I had a wonderful time in Spain," said the Brazilian international. "I had the pleasure of being a league champion twice in a row and playing for a big club like Real Madrid, which gave me a higher profile. Unfortunately my departure from Madrid was not pleasant, but those things are in the past and I have learned a lot and matured."
Despite his successful Spanish sojourn, Robinho has yet to win the UEFA Champions League. "It is a great competition and unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to win it," added the attacker. "So I hope to become a [European] champion here with Milan. It is a competition I love playing in, a difficult one, the toughest in European football. We hope to win it this season. And if not, we will try to win it over the coming years. Now I am enjoying this new and exciting time in Milan, with a great team. We're in good shape and ready to be champions."
If Allegri's charges are to reach the Wembley final in May, though, they must overcome a tough hurdle at White Hart Lane on Wednesday, where they need to overturn a 1-0 first-leg defeat against Tottenham Hotspur FC. "Unfortunately, we lost the home leg in a difficult match. And we conceded a goal when we were playing better. But that does not mean we cannot win there. I honestly believe we can win in England."
According to the Rossoneri's Brazilian contingent, Tottenham's chief threat looms in the lofty frame of Peter Crouch. "He is the strongest player I have marked in the Champions League," said Robinho's team-mate and compatriot Thiago Silva, and Robinho concurs. "They play in a different way, focusing on physical strength, plenty of crosses into the box – especially because they have a very tall player in Peter Crouch. I think they will play exactly the same way again."
Despite the one-goal shortfall, Robinho is adamant his side can do what no other UEFA Champions League team has managed at Tottenham this term – win. "We will have to change our attitude and be even more focused, and if we concede a goal things will become even more difficult, but anything can happen in football. Our goal is to come back from England having qualified for the next round of the Champions League. I played in England for a year and a half and I know how English teams play – very well."
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