Columbus Crew SC’s recently-named head coach Caleb Porter is about to get a new option on the wings as the club has signed Brazilian Robinho Barbosa. Sources close to the situation told Massive Report that the deal was completed a few months ago and the 23-year-old is currently on his way to Columbus, with his transfer to be announced by the Black & Gold in the coming days. The Crew did not respond to a request for comment from Massive Report.
Robinho, who last played for Brazilian Serie A side Ceará Sporting Club, has used his Instagram account to post a farewell message to his former club, which he ended in English with “Thank you very much Vozão!” (the team’s nickname).
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Acaba aqui mais um ciclo na minha vida, foram 7 anos de muitas lutas, conquistas, alegrias, vitórias, derrotas, tristezas, mais acima de tudo de aprendizado que me fizeram chegar ao momento que vivo hoje. A palavra é gratidão, só tenho a agradecer a instituição Ceará Sporting Club a cada funcionário, seguranças, diretoria, companheiros de profissão, amigos, meus empresários, minha família e principalmente a Deus por tudo. Uma nova história se inicia na minha vida e levo todas essas experiências em busca de sonhos maiores e Deus tem cuidado de cada detalhe, uma nova história Ele tem pra mim! Thank you very much Vozão haha!!
He also shared a photo of his passport and an air ticket from Fortaleza, where he lived, which will land this afternoon in Orlando. It’s uncertain if Robinho will fly to Columbus this Tuesday or if the plan is to meet new Crew president Tim Bezbatchenko and Porter in Orlando, where they are following the completion of the Major League Soccer Combine.
Robinho, who reportedly cost the Crew around $250,000, was developed in Ceará’s academy system. He joined the senior team in 2014, but has been loaned out several times. Most recently, Robinho 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.
The Brazilian, who will join his countryman Artur on the Black & Gold’s roster, is a pacy winger, who can play on either sides of the field. He has good speed and dribbling ability and could be helpful if Porter wants to play in a more direct style.
Robinho will join a crowded winger position in Columbus but one searching for production. The returning combination of Pedro Santos, Luis Argudo, Edward Opoku, Niko Hansen and Justin Meram — who returned to the team in early August after an offseason trade away from the club — combined for just five goals and 11 assists last year after being one of the more productive groups on the team in previous seasons.
While it is unknown how Porter will like to play or who he will choose to use as starters, it is likely Robinho will arrive as a depth option and compete for playing time off the bench behind the presumed starters of Santos and Meram.
Although Massive Report learned that this move was in the works for some time, it will go down as the first transfer under the watch of Porter and Bezbatchenko and under the new ownership group of Pete Edwards and Dee and Jimmy Haslam.
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.