Columbus Crew SC announced on Friday the team’s first signing since the new ownership group took over on Jan. 1, as the Black & Gold confirmed the arrival of 23-year-old winger Francisco Wellington Barbosa de Lisboa, who goes by Robinho, from Brazilian Serie A side Ceará Sporting Club.
Massive Report first reported on the deal on Jan. 8, when the Brazilian flew to Columbus to sign his contract. According to reports in the Brazilian media, the Black & Gold have paid around $250,000 to acquire Robinho from Ceará.
“We want to welcome Robinho to Columbus Crew SC as he is a young and dynamic wide attacking midfielder with tireless energy,” team president Tim Bezbatchenko said in the press release. “At 23, Robinho brings experience from more than 100 matches across all competitions in Brazil and we look forward to watching him continue to develop as we believe he adds depth at our wide attacking midfielder position.”
Even though it’s unlikely that Robinho gets himself a starting role at the beginning of the season, the Brazilian can provide pace and dribbling ability in the wings, two elements recently-appointed head coach Caleb Porter mentioned a few times he wants to add to the current roster.
“It’s a dream to play outside of Brazil, so I’m happy to join and play for Columbus Crew,” Robinho said. “I’m ready to work hard for the Club and help my new teammates. This is a dream come true.”
Robinho was developed in Ceará’s academy system and joined the senior team in 2014, but has been loaned out several times. Most recently, he was on loan to Brazilian third division team Santa Cruz, where he scored eight goals in 40 matches in 2018. After his loan expired, he returned to Ceará, but played just 35 minutes in two matches at the Brazilian Serie A. Overall, Robinho has made 119 appearances across all competitions in Brazil, scoring 14 goals.
The Crew’s 2019 MLS preseason will begin on Wednesday, Jan. 23 in Columbus. The team will then travel to Chula Vista, California for preseason camp. The Black & Gold will remain in California until Feb. 6 before returning to Columbus until Feb. 12 when the team departs for Charleston, South Carolina to participate in the 2019 Carolina Challenge Cup.