South American Ticker: Robinho dazzles in Santos return, Ortega's struggle and more

South American Ticker: Robinho dazzles in Santos return, Ortega's struggle and more

South American Soccer

South American Ticker: Robinho dazzles in Santos return, Ortega's struggle and more

Robinho 1 (GettyImages) 

By NESTOR F. SEBASTIAN

Robinho showed his appreciation to his old club Sunday. The diminutive striker made his return to Santos a memorable one by notching a late match-winner with a mind-boggling back-heel goal to help his side to a 2-1 away in against Sao Paulo in the Paulista tournament.

The Brazilian is currently looking for some productive first-team soccer but is also desperate to bring back the magic and characteristics that made him the talk of the footy world before suffering a dip in form with Manchester City, who approved his loan to Santos until the summer.

In Sunday's contest, Sao Paulo equalized with about 20 minutes left with a Roger header after 18-year-old sensation Neymar had put Santos up earlier with a nifty penalty kick. Robinho entered the match in the 58th minute and combined nicely with Neymar before grabbing the winner with about five minutes left.

Here is Robinho's winner (at the 1:05 mark):

Here are some other stories from the weekend in South America:


RIVER PLATE'S ORTEGA STRUGGLING

In Argentina, Ariel 'El Burrito' Ortega, who was once the subject of rumors of playing in MLS, is again facing a battle with alcohol. The River Plate midfielder abruptly left the team's training center prior to his team's 0-0 Clausura match against Rosario Central after being told not to dress for the match.

River Manager Leonardo Astrada notified Ortega of his decision after the midfielder failed to show up at the team's center on Friday night to prepare for this week's game. Ortega walked in Saturday morning, apparently in bad condition, according to reports in Argentina.

Ortega has been battling alcohol addiction for years and has had several off-the-field dilemmas.

HAMBURG's GUERRERO BATTLES PHOBIA

Paolo Guerrero is still in his native Peru recuperating from torn knee ligament damage and…..his fear of flying?

Over the weekend, the Hamburg striker, whose contract expires at season-end, said in an interview that he plans to be back on the pitch next month and sign an extension to his contract with the Bundesliga outfit, declarations that caught his manager, Bruno Labbadia, by surprise.

Labbadia was perplexed that Guerrero would even mention his phobia to the press and also labeled his early return to the field as a "false assessment." Guerrero also faces some stiff competition now that Ruud van Nistelrooy has been scooped up from Real Madrid.

While sympathetic towards Guerrero's condition, the Peruvian press wonders how this came about from the national team striker whose made numerous trans-atlantic journeys for friendlies and World Cup qualifiers.

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What do you think of Robinho's goal? Hoping he joins Santos at Red Bull Arena for the stadium's opening? Glad that MLS never picked up Ortega? Share your thoughts below.

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