An Italian court has sentenced the former Manchester City and Brazil forward Robinho in absentia to nine years in prison after convicting him of taking part in a gang rape of an Albanian woman in 2013.
Robinho and five other Brazilians was found guilty of assaulting the woman, who was 22 at the time, after plying her with alcohol in a discotheque.
The whereabouts of Robinho’s five companions is not known, so their trial has been put on hold, with Robinho’s own sentence being be put on hold until the appeals process is completed.
Robinho, 33, who played for Milan from 2010-2015 and is currently with Atletico Mineiro in Brazil, pleaded not guilty via his lawyer and did not appear at any of the court hearings in northern Italy.
“We would like to clarify that he has already defended himself against the accusations, affirming that he did not participate in the episode,” said a statement posted on Robinho’s Instagram feed. “All legal measures are being taken.”
Robinho has a right to two appeals and Italy would seek extradition only once this legal process is exhausted, a source said. However, Brazil does not allow for the extradition of its own citizens, meaning he would risk arrest and deportation only if he was stopped in a third country.
The Milan court ordered the victim receive 60,000 euros ($71,000) as compensation for her suffering.
Robinho began his career at Santos, where he starred in a side that won the league in 2002 and 2004. His performances won him a move to Real Madrid in 2005 but he stayed only three years before moving to City in a British-record £32.5m transfer.
But failing to make an impact saw him loaned back to Santos in January 2010, and although he won Serie A during his subsequent spell at Milan he returned to Santos for another loan spell in August 2014.
The player then joined Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande in July 2015, and when his sixth-month deal expired he moved back to Brazil, joining Atletico Mineiro on a two-year deal.