Sun, 01 Nov 2020

Robinho leaves Santos over backlash

17 Oct 2020, 11:51 GMT+10

RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Former Real Madrid and Brazil international forward Robinho has parted ways with Santos, less than a week after rejoining his original club amid controversy over a rape conviction.

The decision, announced in a statement posted by Santos on Twitter on Friday, followed mounting pressure from the club's fans and sponsors to cancel the 36-year-old's contract.

In 2017, an Italian court sentenced Robinho to nine years in prison for participating in the 2013 gang rape of a woman in Milan. The punishment was put on hold pending the completion of the appeals process.

"Santos and Robinho have by mutual agreement resolved to suspend the contract signed on October 10 so that the player can concentrate exclusively on his court defense in Italy," the statement read.

Robinho, who left Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir in August, first joined Santos as a 12-year-old and made his professional debut for the club in 2002.

Following a three-year stint at Real Madrid and 18 months with Manchester City, Robinho returned to Santos for a six-month loan spell in 2010.

He spent another 12 months at the club in 2014-15 - also on loan - before joining China's Guangzhou Evergrande.

Capped 100 times for Brazil, Robinho has also had spells with AC Milan, Atletico Mineiro and Sivasspor over a professional career spanning almost two decades.

"It's with great sadness that I'm informing you of my decision, together with the president, to suspend my contract at this difficult time," Robinho said in a video published by Santos.

"My objective has always been to help Santos and, if I'm causing harm, it's best that I leave to focus on personal matters. For Santos fans and those who like me, I have no doubt that I'm going to prove my innocence."

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