Camilo Sanvezzo celebrates
Bob Frid /

Vancouver Whitecaps' Carl Robinson surprised by Camilo's behavior, calls striker "unprofessional"

However the Camilo Sanvezzo-Querétaro FC saga is resolved, Vancouver Whitecaps head Carl Robinson wanted to make one thing clear: His star striker’s behavior is “not acceptable.”

Addressing the media on a Thursday conference call – just hours after yet another photo was released of Camilo in a Querétaro kit despite, according to the Whitecaps, still being under contract with MLS – the first-year head coach said the club is still working to resolve the issue.

He said he’s spoken to the dynamic Brazilian, the reigning Golden Boot winner who scored 22 goals for Vancouver last season, several times since news broke early last week that he planned to sign with the Liga MX side to express his concern.

“He understands the situation,” Robinson said. “I’ve let him know our stance on the situation, his behavior that he’s shown, the unprofessionalism he’s shown, is not acceptable for me, being in charge as the head coach.”

Still, there is apparently no end in sight, at least not one that Robinson was willing to discuss. On Monday, Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi held an impromptu meeting with reporters to discuss a photo that was tweeted by Querétaro welcoming Camilo and another player to the club, saying the club and MLS sent the Mexican club proof of Camilo’s contract status.

At the time, Lenarduzzi said he hoped Los Gallos Blancos would “back off.” Thursday’s photo of Camilo on Querétaro’s training field clearly indicated otherwise.

“I was as surprised as any, and disappointed as well, because I don’t expect that from any professional player,” Robinson said. “I’ve been in the game a long time and I’ve never seen that before. It’s surprising and disappointing, but like I said we need to find a solution for that now.”

One thing does appear clear, Camilo’s future in Vancouver is on thin ice at best.

“Vancouver is a fantastic organization and it has a history about the club and anytime someone puts that in jeopardy you have to ask questions,” Robinson said. “And Camilo’s behavior has not been acceptable; I’ve let him know that that he’s been unprofessional. … Camilo is a good player, a fantastic player, and I want as many good players at the club I can. But I do not condone that behavior.”

Robinson wouldn’t go as far as saying Camilo is done in Vancouver, however, and did say he believes the 25-year-old may be receiving some bad advice from his agent. And that, he said, is a big surprise, especially considering Camilo is one of the players who stood behind Robinson’s hiring after Martin Rennie was let go at the season’s conclusion.

“I was looking forward to having him back,” Robinson said. “I have a good relationship with Camilo, and I’ve worked extensively with him last year to make him better and help him. And he put the hard work in as well.”

And with their season opener less than two months away, the clock is ticking on whether Vancouver will have their most important player for the upcoming season. The MLS Combine starts Friday before next week's SuperDraft, and Robinson said it would be in the club's best interest to know what holes it needs to fill. 

Regardless, it’s not how Robinson envisioned his first month as the head coach of the Whitecaps.

“It’s urgent,” he said. “That’s why we’re working 24 hours a day to find a solution to this.”