South American Ticker: Robinho dazzles in Santos return, Ortega’s struggle and more

Robinho 1 (GettyImages) 

By NESTOR F. SEBASTIAN

Robinho showed his appreciation to his old club Sunday. The diminutive striker made his return to Santos a memorable one by notching a late match-winner with a mind-boggling back-heel goal to help his side to a 2-1 away in against Sao Paulo in the Paulista tournament.

The Brazilian is currently looking for some productive first-team soccer but is also desperate to bring back the magic and characteristics that made him the talk of the footy world before suffering a dip in form with Manchester City, who approved his loan to Santos until the summer.

In Sunday's contest, Sao Paulo equalized with about 20 minutes left with a Roger header after 18-year-old sensation Neymar had put Santos up earlier with a nifty penalty kick. Robinho entered the match in the 58th minute and combined nicely with Neymar before grabbing the winner with about five minutes left.

Here is Robinho's winner (at the 1:05 mark):

Here are some other stories from the weekend in South America:


RIVER PLATE'S ORTEGA STRUGGLING

In Argentina, Ariel 'El Burrito' Ortega, who was once the subject of rumors of playing in MLS, is again facing a battle with alcohol. The River Plate midfielder abruptly left the team's training center prior to his team's 0-0 Clausura match against Rosario Central after being told not to dress for the match.

River Manager Leonardo Astrada notified Ortega of his decision after the midfielder failed to show up at the team's center on Friday night to prepare for this week's game. Ortega walked in Saturday morning, apparently in bad condition, according to reports in Argentina.

Ortega has been battling alcohol addiction for years and has had several off-the-field dilemmas.

HAMBURG's GUERRERO BATTLES PHOBIA

Paolo Guerrero is still in his native Peru recuperating from torn knee ligament damage and…..his fear of flying?

Over the weekend, the Hamburg striker, whose contract expires at season-end, said in an interview that he plans to be back on the pitch next month and sign an extension to his contract with the Bundesliga outfit, declarations that caught his manager, Bruno Labbadia, by surprise.

Labbadia was perplexed that Guerrero would even mention his phobia to the press and also labeled his early return to the field as a "false assessment." Guerrero also faces some stiff competition now that Ruud van Nistelrooy has been scooped up from Real Madrid.

While sympathetic towards Guerrero's condition, the Peruvian press wonders how this came about from the national team striker whose made numerous trans-atlantic journeys for friendlies and World Cup qualifiers.

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What do you think of Robinho's goal? Hoping he joins Santos at Red Bull Arena for the stadium's opening? Glad that MLS never picked up Ortega? Share your thoughts below.

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66 Responses to South American Ticker: Robinho dazzles in Santos return, Ortega’s struggle and more

  1. Osvaldo Alonso says:

    I have a feeling the Brazilian league is going to explode in popularity soon…Adriano, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Robinho are all currently plying their trade there, the league is stocked full of exciting young prospects as always, and if they officially secure the 2014 cup then alot of the infrastructure and stadiums will be upgraded to top notch facilities. It’s an exciting time to be a fan of the brasileirao!

  2. Hush says:

    Cry baby Robinho. That’s his new nickname. Here is a guy who couldn’t play both ends of the field in the best league in the World. I knew from the get start that he would be another Riquelme in the EPL. Some stars players are not cut to play in the most competitive & physical league in the world day in day out,.. i knew he should have stayed in La liga. He reminds me of those NBA cry baby players who think they are too much for a team. He by far is the only Brazilian I dislike.

    Enjoy showing off in a weak league Robinho.:)

  3. I says:

    I know this has nothing to do with Robinho, but I’m getting annoyed with players being able to make a full stop before taking the penalty. Under those rules, the keeper should be able to make a run off the line before the ball is kicked. I am pretty sure that the rules state that the player can not fully stop, but has to keep forward progress at all times once they start running toward the ball.. Yet I see it more and more these days

  4. Mig22 says:

    Yeah, that’s spot on. I had thought the rule was the kick is taken in a single motion. I guess I’m wrong on that one.

    In any case, it’s a pimpy play.

  5. Luda says:

    I agree.

    At the same time, the goalie did actually move before the ball was struck. So he infringed as well, thought the kicker’s infringement is more onbvious.

  6. Either way, he is a good player.

    Don’t forget, he did not want to go to Manchester City. He thought he was going to Chelsea to work for Scolari. In hindsight, he should have sucked it up with Schuster and stayed at Real Madrid. Schuster did not last the whole season the year he left.

    How the EPL is the best league in the world? Apart from the top 4, the quality of the mid-table and lower table teams are pretty much kick and run.

    What makes the game beautiful is not the shirt tugging, checking, and leg breaking physicality of the game on display in England.

  7. Mariin QT says:

    I thought they changed the rule which now allows the goalie to move from side to side at any time. Maybe they also changed the rule on the shooter being able to hesitate?

  8. Santastico says:

    Agreed. I am a Santos fan and I dislike that penalty kick (it certainly wasn’t “nifty”).
    Secondly, didn’t it appear that Robinho was offsides in the clip of his goal? I love Santos but the officiating in Brazil is certainly suspect.

  9. Cousin Larry Appleton says:

    Soft PK call and even softer PK take. What a joke

  10. St. Addiken says:

    Is that whoop there it is? Or am I still a little drunk?

  11. Turgid Jacobian says:

    I think the good play extends well into the mid-table region–teams 5 through 7 or 8 show quite a bit, most times.

  12. Hood Rich says:

    How can Santos afford to pay his wages? Wasn’t he getting paid like 350k USD (200k pounds) a week ?!?
    That is 18.2 M a year!

  13. JR says:

    goalies can move laterally. that pk was a joke, the dude clearly stopped all forward movement

  14. JR says:

    city still pays some amount, want to say half?

  15. Chopper says:

    Robinho looked waay offside in that clip

  16. Rigoberto says:

    You can’t be offside if you’re behind the ball, even if you’re past all the defenders. Just really, really poor defense on that one.

  17. Ed says:

    Haha thought I was the only one stuck in a time warp there for a second…

  18. baquito alyeska says:

    that was my reaction as well.

  19. Carone says:

    “Weak” league?! Go back and watch the “other football” Hush…

  20. Skinn says:

    You’re out of your mind Paul.

  21. jig says:

    it’s also common in brazil for sponsoring corporations of the clubs to pitch in on the wages for the big stars.

  22. Robinho says:

    What is suspect is your DNA, son…

  23. Matt says:

    Robinho goal reminds me of that FA Cup goal Zola scored for Chelsea against Norwich in 2002. That was from a corner but the finish was identical.

  24. jig says:

    neymar is disgusting. i dont care about the rule. to be to be 18 years old and have the balls to try something like that is out of this world. he was also the one at the heart of all Santos’ dangerous attacking moves. kid is a stud.

    The US is lucky they didnt run into him at the U-17 WC this fall. Would have been really ugly seeing what he would have done to Perry Kitchen and Zach Herold.

  25. Oranje Mike says:

    EPL is not the most competitive league in the world. How can it be when 2, maybe 3 clubs, have a chance of winning it all. Second, you obviously don’t pay much attention the what is happening in Brazil. The league is getting better and the clubs have more money. The league is on the rise.

  26. KCB says:

    How is that a legel Penalty?

  27. bilyaletdinov says:

    True that. Sweet PK. He is going places.

  28. ryan says:

    That had to be offsides!

  29. Erik says:

    Those kind of penalty kicks need to be banned. Maybe a rule that you should use one fluid motion – not stop before kicking the ball so the keeper dives to one side and then kick the ball.

    Quite the joke.

  30. Erik says:

    I was thinking the same thing, but he looks in line with the guy who crossed the ball and both were ahead of the attack.

  31. Columbus Crew says:

    Yeah, that full stop PK is BhitSull!!! How in the world is that considered sportsmanlike conduct. At that point no keeper in the world is going to have a chance unless he stands and waits for it, which gives him no chance if the pk is actually taken correctly. Be a man and just pound it down the center if you’re too much of a wuss to place the ball in the side netting….

    nice heel shot though

  32. baquito alyeska says:

    after watching again, the ball keeps him on-sides.

  33. Charles says:

    Amen.

    Very hard to follow the Brazilian league. due to lack of coverage.

    Very hard to follow the English leagues due to lack of competition.

    That Liverpool-Everton game was brutal.

    I am have been saying this for a while now. If you are not going to play at the Big 4 or the Big 2 in LaLiga, why would you play in the EPL/LaLiga ? Money, that is it. The ones that have money don’t. Ljungberg, Beckham, the above mentioned Brazilians that have left.

    Henry anyone ?

  34. Aaron in StL says:

    Man, Robinho just made Guti look like a hobo with that back heel.

  35. Manny F says:

    He took a pay cut to play in Santos.

  36. Manny F says:

    Aside from the top 8 teams in the EPL every other team isn’t that great. La Liga teams no matter what tear down those kick and run English teams on a consistent bases with possession Football. Until the whole lot of England starts playing more like continental Europe then it might be the best league in the world.

  37. Clayton says:

    Ives, can we get an offocial ruling on that PK? Shameful. I think Robinho was ahead of the ball and therefore offsides on that one, personally. Great finish though.

    Hope he dazzles in NY

  38. Kasey says:

    The reason why the EPL can be proven to be the best is because it consistantly has it’s best teams in the later stages of the CL. Regardless of the mid-table teams style of play, they still are class above mid table German, mid table Italian, and mid table Spanish teams.

  39. brad says:

    Ives,

    That PK cannot be legal…wtf??

  40. elmatador says:

    Like everyone here, the EPL is just run run run, kick and beat the leaving crap out of each other (liverpool vs Everton) (Chelsea vs Arsenal), where as in Spain and Brazil it is very entertaining to watch. I think Robinho made the best decision to go back to Brazil to be in form for the WC and he mad a huge statement kissing Santos Crest..

  41. Erik says:

    The problem with all the leagues though is that the same teams are always on top.

    It doesn’t matter how nice the play is – the game is so boring in Europe these days.

  42. me says:

    Agreed. I always was under the impression that the stutter step was illegal.

  43. MikeD says:

    That PK was ridiculous. If you can do that, what’s stopping players from doing some step overs? As long as you don’t touch the ball I guess you can do whatever you want.

  44. Judging Amy says:

    The Brazilian league has always been very good and you are right they are getting even better. See the Club World Championships where Brazilian teams fare quite well. Argentinian and Brazilian leagues don’t get the spotlight too often up here but the quality and entertainment value in these leagues is very high due to intense competition and always emerging young talent. League snobbery is the resort of an insecure football fan. A true and knowledgeable fan enjoys good soccer no matter where its played.

  45. Jimoh says:

    The only team in England That Plays Possessive Football is Arsenal and The Just Get Knocked Around & The Refs Don’t Blown For Then I The Media BLASTSSS Them. Man united Chelsea and Liverpool Just Play An Advanced Form Of Kick & Run Football. Thats Why All You Need In The EPL Is To Be Fan, Strong & Can Run For 90 Minute. You Can Have The Touch Of A Donkey For All They Care Over There Lol…. Robinho Was Right To Leave The Couldn’t Utilize His Class To There Advantage

  46. Erik says:

    Someone should do the Samba dance before taking the PK.

  47. Erik says:

    The refs must be in the tank for Santos. Neither goal should have been allowed to stand. Horrendous officiating!

  48. Josh D says:

    But two of those will retire in a couple years and the others, I’m sure, will return to the top flight of Europe once the money runs dry. Brazil has been here before with an opportunity to find their league again but corruption is big and they will need help clearing out the waste.

    The World Cup will be a great boom to them!

  49. Ted Decker says:

    I thought that pk was pretty cool.

  50. Canchon says:

    Neymar’s penalty kick was a joke…he basically stopped, waited for Ceni to commit, and then casually slotted the ball in the other corner. At halftime interviews Ceni said that Neymar should enjoy it now, when he moves abroad that type of stuff doesn’t fly…

  51. inkedAG says:

    How does a international player from South America have a fear of flying? How did he get to Germany in the first place?

  52. Angelo says:

    About that PK, about 8/10 of all PK’s taken in the Brazilian league are taken like that, its been like that for about 2-3 years. apparently the refs let it go. i think its a gutless move…

  53. DClee says:

    Agreed. I hate that type of PK. An Honduran side, CD Marathon did that against D.c. united in CONCACAF Champions League play this past season and everyone including some players were like how is that legal but apparently the rules have been changed so that PKs can be taken like that. BS if you ask me!

  54. Josh D says:

    By soccer “law,” once you start your run you are not meant to stop… Doesn’t stop refs from allowing it though…

    Consistency from refs is what we’ve been missing in the game for the last few years. Too much “interpretation” from individual refs…

  55. Jonny2bad says:

    In Brazil they turned it into “uterere^” fun to say, they still do it down there.

  56. Neuwerld says:

    There is no FIFA law prohibiting PKs like that. All the Laws of the Game say regarding PK procedure is:

    “- After the players have taken positions in accordance with this Law, the
    referee signals for the penalty kick to be taken
    – The player taking the penalty kick must kick the ball forward
    – He must not play the ball again until it has touched another player
    – The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward”

  57. brunomarmos7 says:

    Yes, it’s allowed. You can stop in the middle of the run, but you can’t come back. The foot can’t make a back move, but it’s allowed to stop during the move of the kick.

  58. Alexandria says:

    How are mid table teams in the epl better? They seem to always get bounced out of the ueafa cup all the time. The EPL has top teams ranked 2,3,5 in their top 3 but after that, you can’t honestly say they are better, then the teams from other leagues.

  59. understood says:

    its because most soccer fans in this country only watch EPL, Champs. League, MLS, and US Nats so they lack perspective

  60. I says:

    In that case… take a look at the replay again. His leg clearly comes back before he kicks the ball…

  61. caroly says:

    If anyone is interested in Neymar, watch the goal he scored last week: link to oglobo.globo.com

  62. Carl says:

    You guys are crazy… the EPL is by far the best league in the world. The best players play there.

  63. Pico says:

    If you study the history of world soccer, the best players in the history of the sport (except Pele) have always opted to play for the most technical leagues in the world: Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, and Germany. Just start enumerating the names of the best players from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland, France, Portugal, Russia, countries from the old Soviet block, and you will get the idea.

    If the EPL and MLS are your only reference to the game, there is so much you are missing.

    Cheers

  64. Luda says:

    He was on side. He was clearly behind the ball, so it is impossible to be offsides.

  65. Scott A says:

    There’s an argument to be made. It’s in the top 3 without a doubt. But it’s false to say it’s the best league in the world by far

  66. Tim F. says:

    Do hope Robinho plays in Red Bull opener.