Veteran striker Brazil international Robinho was sentenced Friday morning to nine years in prison for the rape of a young woman which was upheld by a court in Italy.
A Milan Court of Appeal judge confirmed the conviction for Robinho and one of his friends for group sexual assault since January 2013.
Robinho was playing for AC Milan at the time of the attack and was tried in absentia in November 2017. The pair were among six men accused of involvement in the gang rape of a 22-year-old Albanian woman at a Milan nightclub.
They were both ordered to jointly pay the woman 60,000 euros ($ 73,000) in damages.
The cases against the other four defendants have been suspended. Robinho, 36, who denied the allegations, has the right to appeal the sentence again within 90 days. Robinho was forced to withdraw from a move back to his first club Santos last October amid pressure brought to the Brazilian club by sponsors.
Television channel Globo Sports released footage that was used by Italian prosecutors to secure their conviction, in which the player is said to say, “I laugh because I don’t care. The woman was really drunk. He didn’t even know what happened. “
Former Manchester City go on Robinho has signed a five month contract with the former club Santos and will earn $ 271 (R $ 1,500) a month which is slightly above the state minimum wage.
The 36-year-old has returned to join his childhood club for a third stint as a free agent, having left the Turkish team Istanbul Basaksehir shortly after helping them win their first Super Lig title last season.
“I am good physically and mentally, obviously there is still a bit of rhythm [missing], but over time we will evolve gradually. “
Robinho, who rose to fame after making his professional debut with Santos in 2002, then played for it Real Madrid, City and AC Milan, among other clubs.
He won two national championships, two Paulista tournaments and the Brazilian Cup in his previous two seasons with Santos.
“I have lots of good memories here,” added Robinho. “The fans can be sure that I will do my best to help Santos FC on and off the pitch.
Santos FC is going through tough financial times. So it is time for those who can do something. I want to help a club that always gives me everything. Santos FC has done a lot for me and these returns are still small. . “
Santos is currently experiencing financial difficulties and could soon face a transfer ban from FIFA due to outstanding debts.
Chilean club Huachipato is suing Santos for completing a $ 3.4 million deal for the signing of Venezuelan striker Jefferson Soteldo, while Colombian side Atletico Nacional claim they still owe $ 774,000 from the sale of defender Felipe Aguilar.
Italian Football Federation president Gabriele Gravina has warned that financial problems will arise if football in the country cannot continue.
It comes ahead of a week of negotiations, including one on Wednesday with the heads of Serie A, Serie B, PFA and referees’ associations, with the initial steps to continue training which tends to be on the agenda.
In an interview with the national broadcaster, RAI, the 66-year-old player also stressed he would not be a ‘caretaker’ of football in the country and that working towards reopening was very important.
“At the moment there are two seemingly opposing groups: schools of thought that believe that all activities must be closed with the world of sports and whatnot, which I am part of, who believe in continuing,” Gravina said.
“Football moves around five billion euros. Stopping today will be a disaster but we are worried because if football doesn’t start again, there are problems for the future.
“This type of choice will lead to unprecedented responsibility. I cannot be an administrator of Italian football.
“I have to defend football and I don’t understand the resistance not to start, with all the guarantees possible, to reorganize the whole sports movement.”
Italy, to date, has been the European country hardest hit by coronaviruses, with more than 23,000 deaths.
“You can imagine the drama I have experienced in the last few weeks because I have had to hold my battle almost isolated, but Italian football is not a separate monad from the other professional categories of our country and other intercontinental institutions.
“But there is an important feeling: hope.
“I ask to be considered a movement for the socio-economic impact of our country like other sectors.
“The football federation’s medical-scientific commission has established a protocol that has been sent to the Ministry of Sports and Health which guarantees elements of the group are closed, so I don’t understand the concern.
“As for swabs and tests, there are clinics available. This cannot be an obstacle to restart football.”