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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Chelsea blasted by Real over Robinho

Real Madrid have criticised Chelsea for their conduct during the ongoing Robinho transfer saga.

The Brazilian forward has been the subject of speculation linking him with a move to Chelsea all summer.

The 24-year-old took the unusual step of calling a press conference for this morning when he re-iterated his desire to leave the Spanish champions for Stamford Bridge.

He has so far been refused permission to talk to Chelsea, despite club president Ramon Calderon saying he would not hold the player at the club against his wishes, and today stressed he does not want to play for Real again.

On Thursday, Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon insisted the club were close to signing the player and expressed confidence Robinho would sign before the transfer window closes tomorrow night.

The transfer saga took a strange twist when Chelsea advertised a shirt on their website with Robinho's name on the back.

That move appears to have infuriated Madrid, who said in a statement: 'Real Madrid profoundly regret the conduct of the Chelsea directors, who despite knowing perfectly well the decision not to transfer the player, have continued making declarations and have gone as far as to sell shirts of the player through their official website.

'All this has done nothing but cloud the situation and confuse public opinion.'

The statement also criticised Robinho for calling the impromptu press conference with Madrid's opening match of the season due to take place against Deportivo La Coruna.

'Just before an important official match, Real Madrid believe that all their attention should be focused on themselves, something that has been totally ignored by the player Robinho, who made his declarations just a few hours before the start of the encounter,' the statement continued.

'In relation to those declarations, the club refers to the content of their last statement which said if the final decision of the player was to unilaterally rescind his contract, we would have no alternative but to accept it.'

Robinho spoke for seven minutes at the press conference in which he hit out at coach Bernd Schuster for denying him the chance to move to Chelea, and said he had his heart set on joining Luiz Felipe Scolari's team.

'Before I thought I would be here for 10 years, but now that is not possible and I only want to leave,' said Robinho.

'The coach thinks that he can recover me, but my head is with Chelsea.

'Until now I have not had any problem with him.

'The president and Pedja (Real's football director Predrag Mijatovic) are allowing me to go, the club is in agreement with me, but not Schuster because he has promised to retain me.

'If he thinks this, it's his problem, I don't want to continue at Real Madrid.

'If I have to spend a year without playing I will do it. I will recover because I'm young, I'm 24 years old, and it is destiny.

'(But) I am not going to refuse to play, I have a contract. If they made me play I would, but I would not be happy.'

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