From villain to Real hero

MADRID - Real Madrid's Brazilian international Robinho completed his transition from villain to hero, and all in just seven days, in the eyes of the Spanish public and media yesterday.

MADRID - Real Madrid's Brazilian international Robinho completed his transition from villain to hero, and all in just seven days, in the eyes of the Spanish public and media yesterday.

Robinho had been criticised by most parties after his late night celebrations, which followed Brazil's 5-0 thrashing of Ecuador last week and which appear to have delayed his return to Madrid from international duty.

However, the 23-year-old winger was back in everybody's good books following his two-goal contribution to Real's 4-2 defeat of Greek side Olympiakos in the Champions League on Wednesday.

"Robinho carries on the party," commented Spanish sports daily Marca on its front page yesterday.

"The orgy of Robinho," read the more lurid headline above one of Marca's columns.

The rest of the Spanish media didn't spare the puns and references relating to Robinho's nocturnal activities, both on and off the field.

"Robinho's night on the town," added the more sober mainstream El Mundo newspaper.

Robinho himself knew exactly who to thank after recovering his credibility with the Real faithful, more than 50000 of whom watched him turn in one of his best displays in the famous all-white strip since he joined the club in 2005.

"I dedicate my goals to the boss [Real coach Bernd Schuster] because he backed me all the way," reflected Robinho after the game.

"Now I want to continue at this level in the coming games and help the team to carry on winning, that's the most important thing." - Sapa-AFP

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