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Sep 4, 2008

Robinho hits back at Pele criticism

Robinho has responded to Pele's criticism him for joining Manchester City, insisting the Brazil icon and again criticised Real Madrid for the failure of his move to Chelsea. Former Santos forward Robinho, 24, joined City from Real Madrid on Monday in a shock transfer-deadline-day move after having looked on course for a transfer to Stamford Bridge. City - newly rich as a result of investment the Abu Dhabi United Group - stepped in to meet the asking price and Pele is reported to have said Robinho 'needs some serious counselling' as he had been 'badly advised' by people close to him. Robinho has stressed the move to City is the right one. 'I accept Pele's criticism as he is the king of football, but if he had been me, he would have done the same,' said Robinho, who arrived in Teresopolis in a helicopter yesterday to train with the national team ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against Chile and Bolivia. 'Real did not want to retain me. They even used me as a potential exchange to sign Cristiano Ronaldo. But as that negotiation fell through, they wanted to retain me then. 'If they didn't want to count on me, I didn't want to stay there either, so that is what I told the president.' Robinho admitted his first intention was to move to Chelsea to be coached by former Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari but a number of issues led to Real Madrid cancelling negotiations. 'My first goal was to go to Chelsea as it was the only club to have made a formal offer,' he added. 'But Real did not like Chelsea shirts with my name on being sold before sorting out the negotiations,' he said, referring to an embarassing episode that saw Chelsea's commercial arm peddling Robinho merchandise when a deal was nowhere near being done. 'Also, they did not reach the value Real demanded so then Manchester City came in at the last minute to sign me.' Robinho said Real's refusal to release him to play at the Olympic Games was one of the main reasons why he quit the Spanish side to join City. The Primera Liga giants denied the forward the chance to play in Beijing last month claiming the Brazilian had an injury, but the forward became angry with the club's board and asked president Ramon Calderon for a move away from the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. 'I cried when he (Calderon) didn't let me play at the Olympics and you can check that by asking him,' said Robinho. 'I didn't cry to quit. I just told him I didn't want to stay there any longer so I asked to be transferred.'

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