City agree terms with Brazil­ian club San­tos

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODHANGOUTS - SAM WAL­LACE

THE big­gest game in re­cent Manch­ester City’s his­tory and the jewel in their crown was not even in the 18-man squad to face bit­ter ri­vals Manch­ester United in the sec­ond leg League Cup tie at Old Traf­ford.

The end of the road at East­lands for Bri­tish record sign­ing Robinho came to an end this week.

City re­vealed the Brazil­ian had re­turned home to his for­mer club San­tos on a six-month loan deal.

“San­tos will as­sume all of the player’s con­tract terms, in­clud­ing wages and bonuses. Robinho will travel to Brazil to be­gin his loan pe­riod,” City said in a state­ment.

Robinho will earn sub­stan­tially lower wages at the Brazil­ian club but will be paid ex­tra money by spon­sors. Robinho earned £160,000 a week at City while San­tos are not even re­garded as the high­est pay­ers among Brazil­ian clubs. The high­est-paid mem­bers of their squad are Leo, a left-back who re­cently re­tur ned from Ben­fica, and goal­keeper Fabio Costa, who both earn around £11,000-a-week.

“At the beginning I thought this (loan idea) didn’t go be­yond a dis­tant dream but when I spoke to the player I re­alised that his will would be fun­da­men­tal,” San­tos pres­i­dent Luis Al­varo de Oliveira Ribeiro said.

“The big dif­fi­culty was the fi­nan­cial op­er­a­tion de­spite Robinho be­ing pre­pared to take a pay cut to play for San­tos again. From then on, we set up a fi­nan­cial en­ter­prise to make the (player’s) sign­ing vi­able,” he told a news con­fer­ence.

“Robinho will hand over his im­age and be­come an ad­ver­tis­ing model dur­ing the pe­riod of the con­tract with San­tos. In ex­change for that, there’s a fi­nan­cial in­put to cover the de­mands of a great star. San­tos will pay barely a small por­tion of the salary within our means.

“Robinho, with his charisma, his per­for­mance on the pitch and his im­age of an idol will at­tract bet­ter spon­sors to San­tos and all this at zero cost to the club.

“The pos­si­bil­ity of an ex­ten­sion to the (loan) con­tract con­tin­ues to be a dream but we be­lieve that dreams can come true,” he added.

Robinho will be of­fi­cially un­veiled at a big event next week and could make his de­but in the “clas­sico” against Sao Paulo in the Paulista State Cham­pi­onship on Fe­bru­ary 7.

The 26-year-old Robinho joined bigspend­ing City in 2008 for a Bri­tish record trans­fer fee of £32.5 mil­lion from Real Madrid but has strug­gled to hold down a first-team place.

“Robinho is some­one who needs to be play­ing reg­u­larly and we wish him well for the pe­riod of his loan,” said City man­ager Roberto Mancini on the club web­site (www.mcfc.co.uk).

San­tos wel­comed “King of the step-over” Robinho back on their web­site ( www.san­tos.globo.com).

Robinho, who left San­tos for Real Madrid in 2005, won the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup with Brazil last year but had feared a lack of first­team action could jeop­ar­dise his World Cup hopes. He strug­gled to make an im­pres­sion at City un­der for­mer man­ager Mark Hughes but Ital­ian Mancini, who joined the club in De­cem­ber, had said he was keen for him to stay.

When Robinho, whose full name is Rob­son de Souza, was 14, San­tos great Pele, who at the time su­per­vised his for mer club’s youth scheme, said the boy would have a great fu­ture. – Reuters and The In­de­pen­dent

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