| 18.4°C Dublin

'I was meant to ring him today but never got a chance to speak to him' - Souness' emotional tribute to Michael Robinson

Close

Michael Robinson celebrates winning the European Cup in 1884 with fellow Liverpool players Graeme Souness, Mark Lawrenson and Sammy Lee

Michael Robinson celebrates winning the European Cup in 1884 with fellow Liverpool players Graeme Souness, Mark Lawrenson and Sammy Lee

Getty Images

Michael Robinson celebrates winning the European Cup in 1884 with fellow Liverpool players Graeme Souness, Mark Lawrenson and Sammy Lee

Graeme Souness struggled to hold back the tears as he paid an emotional tribute to his close friend Michael Robinson, who passed away at the age of 61 today.

Former Liverpool captain Souness looked visibly shaken as he explained how he had planned to contact Robinson today, but he "never got a chance to speak to him".

Souness and Robinson played together in the Liverpool side of 1984 who won the European Cup, League title and League Cup under the guidance of Joe Fagan.

Their close friendship was forged before that memorable season with Souness rooming with Ireland star Robinson when Kenny Dalglish was not available.

It was announced today that Robinson had passed away after battling cancer since December, 2018.

"I am absolutely sick for his family. It is a sad day for me," Souness told Sky Sports.

For all the latest sports news, analysis and updates direct to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter.

"I have tried to ring him a couple of times in the last couple of weeks. Michael was a very emotional man and he wouldn't pick up the phone anymore to me and it was only the last night I am thinking 'I am going to try him and try him until I get him'. Then I thought 'I won't ring him now because he could be in his bed' and I was going to ring him today and I've not got a chance to speak to him."

Souness spoke passionately about Robinson as a person, highlighting his unique and warm personality that made him such a success as a player and, later, a pundit in Spain.

"I have so many memories of being in his company. Going for a night out Michael would be the first person you would invite...a real charming man who could tell great stories.

Close

Liverpool celebrate winning the European Cup (Peter Robinson/EMPICS)

Liverpool celebrate winning the European Cup (Peter Robinson/EMPICS)

EMPICS Sport

The Liverpool side that won the Canon League Division One trophy for the 1983/84 season before they went on to beat Roma in the European Cup final in Rome. Photo: Mike Powell/Allsport/Getty Images

The Liverpool side that won the Canon League Division One trophy for the 1983/84 season before they went on to beat Roma in the European Cup final in Rome. Photo: Mike Powell/Allsport/Getty Images

Getty Images

/

Liverpool celebrate winning the European Cup (Peter Robinson/EMPICS)

"I am really sad for his wife and his kids. I know he has been fighting this for a number of years now and it has been difficult for him and he had recently moved to Marbella from Madrid.

"He was a very good footballer, he enjoyed a year at Liverpool - a glory year and he was a big part of that. Then he took himself off to Spain, played with Osasuna and created a life for himself in the media out there and he was extremely popular in Spain.

"He phones me up one afternoon. He used to go for these long Spanish lunches. He got back to his office after being out for lunch with Seve Ballesteros and he was walking down the street in Madrid. Half a dozen people stopped him and asked him for his autograph and only one asked Seve, so he was rejoicing in that.

"He was a proper, proper man. My friendship started going to The Top Hat for dinner on a Thursday night, his wife and my wife. We would become great pals at Liverpool. We roomed together on occasions and he was a great pal of mine."

Tributes have been pouring in for Robinson, with Liverpool's former Spanish internationals Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia taking to Twitter to pass on their condolences.

Alonso wrote: "You'll never walk alone Michael!! Rest in peace."

Garcia wrote: "R.I.P Michael Robinson. The Liverpool legend that got in all the Spanish homes with his fantastic commentaries every Weekend !! #YNWA."

Former club Liverpool said on Twitter: "We're deeply saddened by the passing of former player Michael Robinson, aged 61.

"The thoughts of everybody at Liverpool Football Club are with Michael's family and friends at this sad time."Rest in peace, Michael."

Spanish giants Barcelona said on the social networking site: "We at FC Barcelona wish to express our deepest condolences for the passing of Michael Robinson, a person who loved football and who knew how to explain it with knowledge and ingenuity.

"He was the winner of the 2018 Vazquez Montalban International Journalism Award. Rest In Peace."

Another of Robinson's former clubs, Manchester City, tweeted: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Michael Robinson. "Everyone at Manchester City sends their love and thoughts to Michael's family and friends at this extremely difficult time."

The Royal Spanish Football Federation said in a statement: "The RFEF wishes to join the pain of the football world over the death of Michael Robinson. All of us who form this institution wish to express our condolences to their family and friends. Rest in peace."

Additional reporting by PA

Online Editors