Robinho accepts that Manchester City might not yet be ready to knock Manchester United off their pedestal at the top of English football.
But the brilliant Brazilian insists it will happen one day and he is determined to stick around until it does.
On the eve of his first appearance in a Manchester derby, Robinho hit back at critics including Pele who have questioned the wisdom of his decision to join City rather than Chelsea or another club already established in the Champions League.
“Of course, it's not nice to hear someone like Pele being critical. But I can take it,” City's 32.5-million-pound acquisition told reporters.
“When you leave Real Madrid – a famous club worldwide – it's normal to get criticism. I have played for the national team many times so I am used to good things, and bad things, being said about me.”
Robinho also dismissed suggestions that a reported 160,000-pounds-a-week salary — funded by City's new Abu Dhabi-based owners — had been the key factor in his choice of destination.
“What people have to realise is that I want to be here for many, many years to come,” he said. “Some people seem to think I'm here only for the money but that's not true at all.
“If I only wanted money, I would have gone somewhere else. I had offers from Saudi Arabia and Japan and I could have earned much more over there.”
Having been deemed surplus to requirements at Real — who tried to use him as a makeweight in a deal to bring Cristiano Ronaldo to Madrid — Robinho arrived in Manchester with a point to make.
Eight goals in 11 league appearances for City represent an encouraging start on that score, and he is relishing the prospect of adding to his tally in Sunday's derby at the City of Manchester stadium.
“I imagine it would be the same feeling as scoring for Brazil against Argentina,” he says.
City's acquisition of Robinho represented an embarrassing failure for Chelsea, who made a critical mistake of publishing a mocked-up picture of the player in their colours before a deal had been finalised.
“Everything would probably have been OK but they put that picture of me on the website and I know Madrid were very upset about that,” Robinho revealed, adding that Real had preferred to sell him to a club not in the Champions League.
With former Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari installed at Stamford Bridge, there have been suggestions that Robinho is simply using City as a stepping stone to west London.
But he insists he is happy in England's rainy northwest. “The only thing on my mind is to stay in Manchester for many years,” he said. “Next year we will try our best to reach the Champions League. It's not in my mind to leave the club at all. When I go on the pitch I carry the club's shirt. My aim is to give a lot of happiness to the supporters and the directors and carry on for many years. I want to repay everyone for making me so welcome.”
That last remark reflects lingering bitterness over how he was treated at Real.
“Madrid is a beautiful city and my family loved living there but things were not as good for me as they are here,” he said. “The directors didn't behave properly and I didn't feel as valued as I do here.
“Everyone knows they have a lot of excellent players, but they treated me like I was average.
“I know my worth as a footballer. I don't feel I should be talked about as currency for someone else (Ronaldo). I couldn't accept it because it made me feel under-valued.”
If he helps City beat United in a third consecutive derby on Sunday there will be no danger of Robinho feeling under-valued in Manchester any time soon.
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