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Chelsea out to maul Black Cats

Chelsea 38 minutes ago
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By ESPN Staff
Jul 19, 2008

Robinho agent makes Chelsea claim

Robinho's agent claims Chelsea have made a 'firm offer' of £31.75million to Real Madrid for the Brazilian's services.

However, Wagner Ribeiro admits it would be difficult to secure a move to Stamford Bridge or Barcelona, whom he also claims are interested in his client, despite the Catalan club's strenuous denial of any contact.

Speculation has been rife that the Real Madrid forward is on his way to the Premier League, with Manchester United and Chelsea favourites for his signature.

On Thursday reports suggested Madrid's bitter rivals Barcelona were preparing to table a bid for the player - something the Nou Camp outfit dismissed outright.

While Wagner Ribeiro believes his client will be staying at the Bernabeu, he still claims to have been contacted by Barca scout Pepe Costa.

'I don't have an offer from Barca,' he told Catalan radio station Onda FM.

'But a director from the club called me to see how things are going with the player.

'I told him that there was a firm offer from Chelsea for 40million euros (£31.75million) but that (Madrid president) Ramon Calderon didn't want to transfer him.

'I am a man and I don't lie and the director who called me is Pepe Costa.

'I think it is difficult for Robinho to move to Chelsea and even more so to Barcelona because of the rivalry that exists between the two clubs.

'I told (Madrid sporting director) Pedja Mijatovic that Barca called me but it's as if Real Madrid wanted to sign Leo Messi.'

Earlier in the day Barcelona board member Rafael Yuste rubbished suggestions his club could be set for a shock swoop for Robinho.

'I don't know anything about Barca having talked with Robinho,' he told Sport newspaper.

'Moreover, we have a pact of no aggression between the two clubs so no-one could have done so and we will continue respecting it.'

The few players that have been brave enough to move between the arch rivals have felt the full wrath of their former fans on their return to their old home.

One of Barca's favourite sons, Luis Figo, caused such a stir when he moved to Madrid that he was welcomed back to the Nou Camp by being pelted with items such as bottles, coins, bricks and even a pig's head.

Current Barca reserve team coach Luis Enrique was one of the few players to ever move in the opposite direction when after five seasons at Madrid he moved to the Catalan club in 1996, remaining there until his retirement eight years later.

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