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Sep 1, 2008

Man City sign Robinho in record £32.5m deal

Manchester City have completed the British record £32.5million signing of Robinho with just minutes to go in the transfer window.

He has signed a four-year contract at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Manager Mark Hughes told the club's official website tonight: '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.

'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.

Robinho will be in line to make his City debut against, of all clubs, Chelsea after the international break.

It follows bids earlier in the day for Dimitar Berbatov, David Villa and Mario Gomez.

The Brazilian claimed he wanted to move to England at a press conference yesterday and also criticised Real coach Bernd Schuster for denying him the chance to move to Chelsea. However, London will not be his next destination.

Sources suggest that Real were determined not to sell the Brazilian forward to Chelsea but were happy to deal once the Eastlands side moved in.

Chelsea had been tracking the player all summer and will be furious to lose out to another English club.

Rather than find himself marooned at the Bernabeu until January was prepared to move to the Premier League with Mark Hughes' side.

Real Madrid's decision to accept City's offer for Robinho was made for both 'sporting and human' reasons, the Spanish club's president Ramon Calderon has said.

'We have sold Robinho for reasons of a human nature and for sporting reasons. The fact that he has accepted an offer from Manchester City says that he is not going for sporting reasons,' Calderon told Spanish television station Veo.

'It's an important sum of money. It's not the objective of Real Madrid to sell players, neither do we need the money, but for reasons of human and sporting nature, it has been decided this is for the best.

'It's a decision agreed by all the coaching staff, who understand it is best for the player and for the club.

'(Coach Bernd) Schuster thought until yesterday that he could recover the player, but that has not been the case. Every time I have spoken with him he was very sad, crying and asking to leave Spain. Real Madrid are more important than any one player.

'He's a great kid, but badly advised.'

Robinho burst on to the scene as an 18-year-old when he helped Santos win their first Brazilian championship in 2002.

His trickery, skills and physique led to comparisons with former Santos great Pele and eventually attracted the attention of Real Madrid.

Robinho pressured Santos for a move to Real and after a lengthy tug-of-war transfer saga, the Brazilian club relented and agreed to sell the player to the Spanish giants in August 2005.

Classed as the new Galactico when he arrived at the club, Robinho made a dazzling debut as a substitute in the 2-1 victory over Cadiz in the opening game of the season but then went on to struggle for the remainder of his first campaign in Europe.

He won his first Spanish league title under coach Fabio Capello in 2007, but often featured as a substitute and only really took off last season when he helped Real to their second consecutive championship, scoring 11 goals in 32 outings.

Robinho is a regular in the Brazilian national side and played an instrumental role in their triumph in the 2007 Copa America, finishing as the tournament's top scorer with six goals.

City's fortunes were transformed this morning when Abu Dhabi United Group announced they had agreed in principal to buy the club from Thaksin Shinawatra, who will remain on the club's board as a shareholder and honorary president.

Prospective new Manchester City owner Dr Sulaiman Al-Fahim believes only 'formalities' remain before he can rubber-stamp their takeover of the Premier League club.

Al-Farim confirmed that ADUG had also considered investing in City's Premier League rivals Arsenal, Newcastle and Liverpool before deciding to press ahead with a buy-out - thought to be worth around £150million - of the Eastlands outfit.

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