Sunday 19 January 2020

Adebayor determined to move on after Togo nightmare

James Ducker

EMMANUEL Adebayor feared he would never play for Manchester City again after reliving the machine-gun attack that almost claimed his life.

The City striker dedicated his goal in his team's 2-0 win at home to Portsmouth on Sunday to the three people who died when terrorists opened fire on the bus taking the Togo team to the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola at the start of last month.

Adebayor was granted compassionate leave by City, but while sources close to the player insist that he is determined not to let the ordeal scar him, the striker admitted yesterday that he had feared the worst.

"At one point I didn't think I would ever see City's stadium and the fans again," he said. "I have been through a difficult moment in my life. I am glad that these terrible moments are behind me."

City remained in regular touch with Adebayor after the incident, with the player saying he was touched by the support shown by the club and the goodwill messages from fans.

"It is good to be home and back on the football pitch," he said. "Through all the difficulties, the fans were there with me, calling my name and sending me messages of support. I was very moved by that.

"The club did everything they could for me, too. They checked I was OK and gave me time before coming back. The most important things are the relationship between the players and the club, and the players and the fans. Here, I feel I have a good relationship with both.

"The people who work at City and watch City have faith in my ability and faith in what I am doing."

Faith was something that City did not have in Robinho, who was presented as a Santos player yesterday after joining the club where he started his professional career on a six-month loan last week. Thousands of fans greeted Robinho as he flew in to the centre of the Vila Belmiro Stadium by helicopter flanked by Pele.

"I am very happy all of you are here," Robinho said. "I have a great love for Santos. I'll try in every match to make you happy with a Santos victory. One of my objectives is to go to the World Cup and playing well at Santos will prepare me for that." ( © The Times, London)

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