Tuesday, September 2, 2008

City shocker!

Manchester City have confirmed the signing of Brazil forward Robinho from Real Madrid for a British record fee of £32.5 million.

The 24-year-old had been linked with a move to Chelsea this summer but City concluded a deal for the player shortly before the midnight transfer deadline. The news comes on the day Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment began the process to take over at City, entering a period of due diligence. Manager Mark Hughes told City's official website: "I am absolutely delighted to get the opportunity to work with such an incredible talent like Robinho. I have said that in order to compete with the best teams in the Premier League we have to be in the market for players of this calibre, and Robinho is undoubtedly one of the best players in the world."

Robinho's move to Eastlands will have stunned Chelsea, who remained confident of signing the Brazilian early in the evening. Blues boss Luiz Felipe Scolari viewed his compatriot as key to fulfilling his brief of producing attacking football at Stamford Bridge. But Real appeared unwilling to do business with Chelsea and criticised the manner of their pursuit the previous day.

The 24-year-old, capped 42 times, took the unusual step of calling a press conference on Sunday morning when he reiterated his desire to join the Blues. Real blocked the move but Chelsea remained confident they would capture the former Santos marksman - until City's astonishing intervention late on Monday. Bankrolled by Abu Dhabi United Group's takeover, City capped a remarkable transfer deadline day by offering £32.5million - with Real accepting. City had earlier grabbed the headlines by attempting to hijack Dimitar Berbatov's transfer to Manchester United but when the Bulgarian opted for Old Trafford they moved instead for Robinho.

The Brazilian, who has signed a four-year deal, scored 25 goals in 101 games at the Bernabeu, during which time he won two Primera Liga winner's medals. He moved to Spain three years ago after rising to prominence with Santos in his homeland. He has also scored 11 times for his country. Hughes added: "I am really looking forward to introducing him to the rest of the squad, and to the City fans at the earliest opportunity. This is a real statement of intent as to the ambitions of Manchester City Football Club." A Chelsea spokesperson said: "We were unable to agree terms with the club (Real) as we were not going to pay the 40million euro asking price."

Robinho factfile

1984: Born Robson de Souza in Sao Vicento, Brazil on January 25.

1996: Trials with Santos junior team.

2002: Signs for Brazilian club Santos as a professional, having been part of the youth academy at the club.

2002: Makes his senior debut.

July 13 - Scores first senior goal in a friendly against Comercial SP. Helps Santos to first Brazilian Championship title for 20 years.

2003: Earns first cap for Brazil in July against Mexico in the Gold Cup.

2004: Adds a second Brazilian Championship title with Santos to his career honours, scoring 21 goals in the season.

2005: February 9 - First goal for Brazil against Hong Kong.

June - Wins Confederations Cup with Brazil.

July - Signs for Real Madrid for £16.5million.

August 28 - Makes debut for Real in La Liga in a 2-1 win over Cadiz.

September 22 - Scores first goal for Madrid against Athletic Bilbao.

2006: June - Member of World Cup-winning Brazilian squad, but only starts one match.

2007: Helps Madrid to La Liga title and helps Brazil win Copa America; top scorer in the competition with six goals and named best player of the tournament.

2008: Helps Madrid to another La Liga title, scoring 11 goals in the season.

May 23 - His agent, Wagner Ribeiro tells Brazilian TV station Globo Chelsea are prepared to offer around £28million for the Brazilian.

July 1 - Ribeiro claims to have held talks with Chelsea sporting director Frank Arnesen about bringing Robinho to Stamford Bridge.

July 13 - Robinho says he wants to stay at Real Madrid after he is reportedly offered as bait by the Spanish champions in their quest to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United.

July 22 - Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon has admitted Robinho would be the club's final signing of the summer if they are successful in their attempts to land the Brazilian.

July 26 - Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster says Robinho will remain at the club next season.

August 7 - Real reject an undisclosed offer from Chelsea for the Brazilian, believed to be around £20million.

August 8 - Real president Ramon Calderon insists Robinho will stay at the Bernabeu.

August 15 - Calderon tells Ribeiro he will not sell his client, regardless of the size of Chelsea's bid.

August 22 - Robinho insists he has no future with Real.

August 23 - A statement on the Real website claims they would never hold a player at the club against his wishes.

August 24 - Schuster names Robinho in his 18-man squad for the Supercopa second-leg tie against Valencia but the Brazilian does not come off the bench.

August 25 - Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko completes his return to AC Milan, leaving the Blues one striker short as the transfer window nears its closure.

August 29 - Robinho insists he still hopes to join Chelsea, revealing negotiations are ongoing.

August 30 - The Brazilian is left out of the Real squad for their Primera Liga opener against Deportivo La Coruna.

August 31 - Robinho calls a press conference where he admits he is "unhappy" at Real Madrid and reiterates his desire to join Chelsea. Calderon then indicates the Spanish champions would not be making any squad alterations on deadline day.

September 1 - Manchester City confirm they have signed Robinho on a four-year contract.

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