Man City beat Chelsea to Robinho

Robinho stated on Sunday he wanted to leave Real Madrid

Manchester City have beaten Chelsea to the signing of Brazilian forward Robinho from Real Madrid for a British record transfer fee of about £32.5m.

Chelsea had been chasing the 24-year-old but City have captured him on a four-year deal with a late bid.

“I am absolutely delighted to get the opportunity to work with such an incredible talent like Robinho,” City boss Mark Hughes told the club website.

“This is a real statement of intent as to the ambitions of this club.”

After missing out on Robinho, Chelsea issued a statement saying they were unable to agree a deal with Real as they were not prepared to pay the Spanish club’s asking price.

City made the audacious attempt to sign Robinho on transfer deadline day after earlier agreeing to a takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group.

Hughes added: “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.

BBC Sport’s Tim Vickery

“I am really looking forward to introducing him to the rest of the squad, and to the City fans at the earliest opportunity.”

Real Madid president Ramon Calderon said Robinho, who called a news conference on Sunday stating again his desire to leave the Bernabeu club, had broken down in tears as he pleaded for a move.

Robinho appears to have been unhappy with Real and their willingness to sell him to fund a failed move to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United.

“We have sold Robinho for reasons of a human nature and for sporting reasons,” Calderon told Spanish television station Veo.

“The fact that he has accepted an offer from Manchester City says that he is not going for sporting reasons.

“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.

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Robinho’s fancy footwork for Brazil in 2006

“(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.”

Chelsea had been favourites to sign Robinho but Real apparently refused to sanction a switch for him to join them as they were upset at the Stamford Bridge club’s conduct in the matter.

Robinho could now make his debut for City in their next league game, which is ironically against Chelsea on 13 September.

He joins up with fellow Brazilian Jo at City after he moved to the club from CSKA Moscow.

BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty

Robinho is a regular in the Brazil side and helped Santos win their first league title as an 18-year-old in 2002.

He drew comparisons with Brazilian legend Pele and joined Real from Santos in August 2005 after pressing for a move.

Robinho struggled in his first season but won the Spanish title under coach Fabio Capello in 2007.

A player with pace and trickery, he came into his own last season when he scored 11 goals in 32 outings to help Real to a second successive La Liga crown.

He was also top scorer with six goals when Brazil won the 2007 Copa America.