There was a clean sweep of front pages dedicated in their wholeety to Michael Robinson’s death on Wednesday morning.
Marca titled theirs ‘The Day After,’ which had been the name of the pioneering football highlights show he presented for years. Diario AS went simply with: ‘Michael Robinson, You’ll Never Walk Alone’.
On any other day news that the government had given footballers the go-ahead to train in isolation would have been the lead story but Diario AS, Sport, Mundo Deportivo and Marca all dedicated front pages to a man Marca said had ‘left an indelible mark on football and on Spanish television’.
The Spanish newspapers paid tribute to Michael Robinson on Wednesday morning
Marca led with ‘El Dia Despues’ (The Day After) – the name of the show Robinson hosted
Marca spoke of how he brought something special to the game in Spain as soon as he touched down in the country in 1990 confused as to why he couldn’t find Osasuna – on the map, before realizing it was the name of the team not a place.
Diario AS spoke to his former coach at Osasuna Pedro Zabalza who he had mistakenly thought was the hotel manager in his first few confusing days in the country. Zabalza said: ‘He made a huge contribution to us staying up. He won the people over very easily. ‘
Sammy Lee who had been a Liverpool team-mate who Robinson persuaded to join him at Osasuna said:’ He had a passion for life and football and that came across when he moved into television. ‘
Robinson is known for his time at Liverpool but made a huge impact on the Spanish game
When injury cut short his playing career, he could have ‘just gone home’ said one editorial. Instead he stayed and became a star in what was the ‘extra time’ of that career.
It’s difficult to grasp the impact he had without considering how bland the landscape of Spanish football coverage on television was before he revolutionized it.
After his playing career ended he did some work for Spain’s national broadcaster TVE and it was co-commentating the 1990 World Cup for them when he was noticed by Canal Plus’ new head of sport in Spain, Alfredo Relano. He wanted Robinson’s honest, original style to be part of a sea-change in the way television analyzed football.
Sport pay tribute to Robinson, who revolutionized Spanish football coverage after his career
Robinson produced and presented LaLiga’s first ever highlights show El Dia Después (The Day After) which aired on Mondays and was hugely popular. Spanish viewers took him into their hearts; acceptance was rubber-stamped, literally, when the makers of the country version of Spitting Image made him one of its principal latex puppets.
He continued to co-commentate alongside long-term friend and colleague, Carlos Martinez, right up until the coronavirus put the Spanish season on hold.
They were together at Anfield on March 11 for what was to be Robinson’s last game.
Martinez was too sad to speak to the various media asking him for an interview but he did pen a short tribute in El Pais in which he described someone who arrived into the world of Spanish football broadcasting with ‘ words of Spanish, and 30 of those were swear words’ and yet had the confidence to believe he could be successful.
Mundo Deportivo included a tribute to Robinson after he passed away on Tuesday at
‘Y ou didn’t just achieve that, ‘Martinez wrote. ‘You discovered a new passion as addictive as scoring goals – that of telling stories.’
That desire to tell sports stories saw him create and present a new documentary series called ‘Informe Robinson’ which later spawned a radio version. ‘No one told football stories better than you’ said Marca .
Jose Larazza, who worked on the television show, said : ‘Michael adored getting to know the world’s best sportsmen and women. But they were always more fascinated by meeting him.
‘Rafa Nadal couldn’t stop asking him about football. After all, he had been listening to Robinson talk about it [on radio and television] all his life. ‘
Robinson celebrating winning the European Cup while he was playing for Liverpool
In another indication of how so many of the professionals he interviewed had grown up listening to him, Andres Iniesta tweeted on Tuesday: ‘Rest in peace, Michael. So many mornings, afternoons and nights we spent with you … we will miss you. ‘
And Iniesta’s World Cup-winning team-mate Iker Casillas, tweeted:’ Goodbye my friend, it was a pleasure to share so many moments with you. You made such a big impression. ‘
Robinson had been in South Africa commentating on Spain’s success with Carlos Martinez, who finished his tribute saying:’ It was a year and a half ago, on our way to the Bernabeu, that you told me that you had been diagnosed with incurable Melanoma.
‘You have made these 18 months fly because of the way you have kept on making us laugh. I never told you enough what a privilege it was to see you deal with it in the way you did. ‘
In among its pages dedicated to him, AS included some of his most memorable phrases.
Robinson had a huge impact on the Spanish game and there have been plenty of tributes
‘I’ve managed to end up speaking two languages badly,’ he said of his attempts at learning Spanish and maintaining his English. ‘Spanish football is the most beautiful but perhaps the most deceitful,’ was at one point his verdict on the game.
‘In any other era Cristiano Ronaldo would have been the best in the world but Messi is the best in history, ‘he said of LaLiga’s titans.
Of his own struggle he said after diagnosis:’ Cancer might kill me but what I’m not going to let it do is kill me every day. ‘
His television colleague from the’ Informe Robinson ‘days, Larazza added:’ It’s so sad that he has gone so soon but what people don’t realise is that he fitted 1984 years into those 61. ‘