MADRID // Robinho's depressed mental state played a part in the decision to sell him to Manchester City, according to the Real Madrid President Ramon Calderón. "The boy was in a terrible way," Calderón told radio station Cadena SER late last night. "Robinho's problem was worse than we believed. I spoke to him several times. When he spoke of his situation, he physically cried and asked to leave Spain. He was desperate.
"It is not Madrid's aim to sell players. We must defend the club's interests. The reasons in this case are both humane and sporting." Manchester City beat Chelsea to Robinho's signing by agreeing to pay Madrid a British-record £32.5 million (Dh215m) before the end of the European transfer window closed last night. "He wasn't bothered about going to Manchester City. His departure from Madrid wasn't just due to sporting reasons, there is something else, which I can't understand. You can't keep anyone against their will at the club," Calderón said.
Robinho had repeatedly spoken of his desire to join Chelsea, but City, boosted by a windfall from an imminent takeover by a United Arab Emirates business group, Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment (ADUG), made a huge offer for the 24-year-old forward. Agreeing to a four-year contract, the Brazil international will reportedly earn £4.8m a year - about three times his salary with the Spanish champions.
"This (Monday) afternoon, Chelsea hadn't said anything. Manchester made its bid at seven o'clock by fax. It was 34m. And we reached 40 million, plus 2m for objectives," Calderón said. The El Pais newspaper said today that Robinho's departure represented a defeat for Madrid coach Bernd Schuster and a victory for the club's sports director, Predrag Mijatovic. Despite leaving Robinho out of the squad for Madrid's opening Spanish league defeat at Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday, Schuster had always wanted the forward to stay.
By contrast, Mijatovic had instigated the sale, the daily said. Criticising the club for a lack of foresight, El Pais said the Primera Liga champions are now short of star players, having failed to sign Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo, Valencia's David Villa and Villarreal's Santi Cazorla. "Robinho decided to go to a lesser club instead of staying at Madrid. A bad sign," it said. Madrid have spent 23m on two new players in the summer transfer window - the Netherlands midfielder Rafael van der Vaart from Hamburg and the Argentine defender Ezequiel Garay from Racing Santander, who has been loaned back to Santander for the rest of the season to gain first-team experience.
This season represents the big spending Galactocos club's lowest off-season expenditure since 1995. *AP