City agree terms with Brazilian club Santos
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