Robinho to serve 9-year jail sentence in Brazil for gang rape conviction in Italy

March 21 – Former Manchester City and Real Madrid striker Robinho must serve a nine-year prison sentence in his native Brazil as a result of a 2017 rape conviction in Italy, Brazilian judges have ruled.

Robinho has always denied the claims that he took part in gang rape of a 22-year-old Albanian woman at nightclub in Milan in January 2013. But the court decided by nine votes to two in favour of an Italian request that Robinho be jailed in his home country.

His lawyer, Jose Alckmin, told reporters he would work to keep his client out of jail while they appealed.

The former Brazil international, now 40, was originally convicted by an Italian court for the crime committed four years earlier when he was playing for AC Milan.

He lost in the Milan Court of Appeal in 2020 and then had his sentence upheld by Italy’s highest court in 2022, after which Italian prosecutors issued an international arrest warrant for him.

Brazil does not extradite its nationals, however, and Italy asked that Robinho be made to serve his sentence in his home country instead.

Robinho said in an interview on Sunday that racism was to blame for his conviction in Italy.

“I played only four years in Italy and I got tired of seeing stories of racism. Unfortunately that exists to this day. (The rape case) was in 2013, now we are in 2024. The same people who don’t do anything against it (racism) are the ones who sentenced me,” he declared.

“I was unfairly convicted in Italy for something that did not occur.”

For Robinho, who won 100 caps for Brazil, it has been a dramatic fall from grace.

Having begun his career in 2002 at Santos, a team made famous by Brazil great Pele, Robinho was touted as the successor to the golden generation of Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho.

In 2005, he joined Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham at Real Madrid. He went on to play for Manchester City from 2008 to 2010, and for Milan for four years until 2014.

He also played in China with Guangzhou Evergrande, Atletico Mineiro in Brazil and Turkish club Istanbul Basaksehir.

Lawyer Jacopo Gnocchi, who represented the victim, said he and his client were satisfied by the Brazil court’s ruling.

“We believe that this is the fair conclusion of a case that took place in Italy, with assurances for all the defendants who were then found guilty,” Gnocchi told Brazilian news website UOL.

“We respected and we understood that the Brazilian Constitution does not allow the extradition (of its own citizens), but that does not change the fact that when the sentence is final it is fair… that the sentence is applied.”

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