Premier League – Robinho: Why I left City camp

Robinho has spoken out over his exit from Manchester City‘s Tenerife training camp, saying he returned to Brazil on family business.

The £32.5 million striker claimed he told the club he would go home, even though City’s chairman Garry Cook had previously admitted he did not know where Robinho was.

The 24-year-old denied he had been involved with a dispute with manager Mark Hughes and said his departure had nothing to do with City’s failure to sign fellow Brazilian Kaka in a world record deal.

“I had made Manchester City aware that I needed to return to Brazil because of a family matter,” Robinho told the BBC.

“I will return to the club and hope to sort this out as soon as possible.”

He added: “I feel it is important to underline that I did not return to Brazil because of the Kaka deal.

“He is one of my good friends and it would have been great to see him at Manchester City – but it had nothing to do with his decision to stay in Milan.

“I am committed to helping Manchester City become the force the owners assured me they will become.”

City do not play again until January 28, as they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Nottingham Forest and have no fourth-round fixture this weekend.

Earlier on Tuesday, Cook confessed he was in the dark over Robinho’s whereabouts.

“I do know Robinho is not at the training centre in Tenerife,” he said.

“If he has left the training ground it is a breach of club discipline. I am waiting for a full debrief.”

Reports in South America suggested Robinho returned to Brazil to sort out personal issues.

“There is no game on at the weekend and Robinho needs to take care of his son’s passport,” a man named Evandro, who claims to be Robinho’s security guard and personal friend, told ESPN Brasil.

The same report said he will not return to Manchester until next Monday.

British reports claimed that Robinho walked out on City after Hughes reneged on a promise to let him celebrate his birthday on January 25.

Whatever the truth of Robinho’s trip, the adverse publicity comes as more bad news following Kaka’s rejection of a lucrative transfer from Milan late on Monday night.

There were reports that Brazilian members of the City squad – Robinho, Elano and Jo – were among those who talked Kaka out of the move, which would have netted him an estimated £500,000 a week.

Those claims are unlikely ever to be verified but City officials are now struggling to control the adverse publicity and uncertainty over Robinho’s whereabouts.

City smashed the British transfer record when they splashed out £32.5 million on the 24-year-old in August last year.

Widely assumed to be joining Chelsea, Robinho plumped for City when Real Madrid refused to do business with the Stamford Bridge outfit.

Individually, Robinho has been a success, netting 12 goals for his new club – all but one in the Premier League – and becoming an instant hit with the City faithful.

However, City’s failure to establish themselves in the top half of the table under Hughes has been source of disappointment to the club’s new Arab owners.

The forward has even offered Hughes advice over team-building, claiming last week that although he would like to see Kaka at Eastlands, defensive reinforcements should be the priority.

Alex Chick / Eurosport

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