Michael Robinson Was Loved In Liverpool But He Was Adored In Spain Too

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The sad news of Michael Robinson's passing had just been revealed by his family when the tributes began to arrive in torrents.
Friends were heartbroken, former team-mates and colleagues were crestfallen. Robinson, a European Cup winner with [/sport/teampages/liverpool.html Liverpool] in 1984, was an avuncular figure, full of life and happiness and possessor of a wonderful smile.

The words that people used to pay tribute spoke volumes.
World Cup winners Andres Iniesta and Iker Casillas took to Twitter to pay their respects, as did [/sport/rafael-nadal/index.html Rafael Nadal].
The tennis star would spend hours in conversation with Robinson — whose post-playing career saw him become the pre-eminent voice of Spanish football.
Michael Robinson (left) celebrates winning the 1984 European Cup alongside Liverpool team-mate and goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar
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No words were more beautiful, though, than those Graeme Souness managed to find on Sky's Football Show.

Souness and Robinson became close friends during 12 months together at Anfield, a bond that was formed on the occasions they shared a room during away trips. Souness began telling a story about a phone call he had received one Friday afternoon.
‘Michael used to go on these long Spanish lunches,' said Souness, the smile suggesting he had enjoyed a few of them himself.

‘He had been out with Seve Ballesteros.
'They were walking down the street in Madrid when half a dozen people stopped him to ask for his autograph. Only one person asked Seve! He was absolutely rejoicing about that! He was a proper, proper man.'
Speaking on The Football Show on Sky Sports, Graeme Souness paid tribute to Robinson
Legendary Spanish golfer Seve Ballesteros was also counted as a friend of Robinson's
Quickly, though, the laughter disappeared.

Robinson — diagnosed with incurable melanoma 18 months ago — posted a message of his own on Twitter seven days ago to say he was ‘still fighting; I see I will never walk alone'.
Souness said: ‘I tried to ring him a couple of times in the last few weeks.

Michael was a very emotional man and would not pick up the phone to anyone.
'Only last night I was thinking I was going to try him until I got him. I thought, "I won't ring him now as he may be in his bed early". I was going to ring him today — I never got the chance to speak to him.'
Souness's voice cracked.

We could understand why. The desire to make that one last call, to hear warm words on the other end of the line, will never leave. Nor will the memories they shared — and there were enough to fill several books, as Mark Lawrenson explained.
Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal posted this picture of himself and Robinson on Instagram

Robinson and Lawrenson first played together at Preston as teenagers in the 1970s, Lawrenson's stepfather had a role moving Robinson to Manchester City in 1979 and the pair were later reunited at Brighton. When Lawrenson was sold to Liverpool in 1981, Robinson bought his house.

Their paths crossed again, most thrillingly of all, on Merseyside in 1983.
Lawrenson recalled: www.typea.info ‘We were on pre-season tour in Switzerland and Joe Fagan said one morning, "What do you know about Michael Robinson?" I said, "He's a great player and a great lad, why?" Joe replied: "That's good, he's coming here!"'
The great lad — who they ironically called ‘The Cat' as he wasn't light on his feet — would go on to help Liverpool win a treble of League title, League Cup and European Cup, coming on as a substitute in the 1984 final against Roma.
Former Liverpool star Mark Lawrenson was among those to pay tribute to his team-mate
Robinson became a popular media figure in Spain after retiring from playing in 1989
Stints at QPR and Osasuna followed for the Republic of Ireland international, who retired through injury aged 31.

Life at Osasuna suited him perfectly, so he remained in Spain, became fluent in the language, and did some work for the national broadcaster TVE.
He was co-commentating on the 1990 World Cup when he was noticed by new Canal Plus head of sport in Spain Alfredo Relano.
He wanted Robinson's honest, original style to be part of a revolution in the way television analysed football in the country.
Robinson produced and presented La Liga's first-ever highlights show, El Dia Despues (The Day After) which aired on Mondays for 15 years and was hugely popular.

A documentary called Informe Robinson would follow.
Spanish viewers took him to their hearts — as did everyone who met him.
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