Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughSamba City - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Samba City - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Samba City

There’s only one way to have a happy marriage, and as soon as I learn what it is I’ll get married again.” Actor and director Clint Eastwood may have summed up City’s relationship with South American footballers perfectly.

Vicente Matias Vouso. The name is probably one many of you can’t even remember. If I were to add to him to a list including Robinho, Elano, and Aguero, then maybe you’ll see a link.

Vouso was the first in an ever growing list of South American’s to have played for the Blues. With ‘Munichgate’ dominating many of the postings on Blue Moon over Manchester of late, maybe it’s not just Carlos Tevez to have fallen out of love with the club.  

The little known Argentinian Vouso was a club record £5million transfer for Kevin Keegan in the summer of 2002. However, amidst on-going murmurings of unhappiness and homesickness, Keegan criticised Vouso’s professionalism, brought in Nicolas Anelka and Robbie Fowler, and shipped Vouso back off to Argentina.

If that’s where City’s turbulent love affair with South American began, Tevez could yet prove to be where it ends. The next samba star to sign instantly became a City hero, his name was Geovanni.

The ex-Barcelona playmaker joined in the summer of 2007 and excited the fans by scoring the only goal in a win over United.  It looked like Geovanni had put to bed lingering concerns after Vouso, as he re-ignited the flame joining up with another Brazilian, Elano.

Geovanni quickly fell out of favour with then manager Sven Goran Eriksson, with Eriksson calling him ‘lazy’. Elano on the other hand kept hopes alive with a number of glorious goals, notably a 35 yard free-kick against Newcastle.

While Geovanni was sent out on loan at the end of the season, Elano stayed under new manager Mark Hughes. Sadly, again it wasn’t long before a South American struggled to adapt to the (ahem) different climate of the North-West.

Hughes blamed Elano for disrupting the dressing room, and just as those before him, Elano too found himself sitting in the stands for a number of games. If City were filing the divorce papers after Elano, the summer of 2008 looked set to be the renaissance.

First there was Jo, then Zabaleta and Glauber Berti (remember him?), and finally, on that most dramatic of deadline days, Real Madrid’s Brazilian superstar Robinho joined the club.

With the exception of the fans cult hero Berti, the new boys briefly looked like turning City into a Blue Brazil. A 6-0 drubbing of Portsmouth in which Robinho and Jo got on the score sheet, and a man of the match performance from a revitalised and happy Elano led to the press getting excited about Manchester City again.

Once again, it didn’t take long for the arguments to start and, after Christmas, Robinho and Elano were being left on the bench and Jo had been frozen out for his reportedly ‘lazy’ (notice a theme?) attitude. As had been the case with all before them, their relationships with the manager had reportedly broken down beyond repair.

Just one year later, however, Hughes couldn’t resist dipping his feet back in the Amazon waters.

In first came Roque Santa Cruz, and then, Carlos Tevez, much to the despair of Manchester United fans. I don’t think any of you will want to remember Santa Cruz’s injury-ravaged time with the club, (if I’m honest, I wish I could forget), while a quick search for Tevez on this website will tell you how fan’s now feel about our former captain.

For all his reported unhappiness, Tevez has scored 43 goals in 65 games for the club, an outstanding record. So, when it looked like he was on his way out for good this summer, Roberto Mancini bought a ready-made replacement in Tevez’s Argentinian team-mate Sergio Aguero.

At the moment, it looks like the wedding is back on, with Aguero the groom and Pablo Zabaleta the best man. As for the guest list, it looks like the church may be a little empty.

Craig White

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