Robinho says he warned Manchester City. The club is mystified by it's star's sudden exit. On Tuesday, after Robinho insisted City knew he left training camp in Tenerife to return to Brazil for family reasons, the club threatened to fine him unless he can explain his sudden departure apparently without warning.
The striker left teammates in the Canary Islands on Monday, sparking reports that he walked out for good on the same day that AC Milan star Kaka turned down a world-record move to City. Club executive chairman Garry Cook said he couldn't explain the exit and a "breach of club discipline" was being investigated. Robinho faced a maximum two-week fine of 280,000 pounds ($194,000; euro151,000).
"(Manager) Mark (Hughes) has some clear guardrails around the discipline of footballers and the roles they play, if he has broken those then we will manage that internally," Cook said. "I don't know why he left, but the collapse of the Kaka deal and the Robinho issues are unconnected.
"It would be disappointing if players are only happy at this club because they are expecting other players to be brought in." Robinho, who moved to City from Real Madrid last year for a British record transfer fee, said he had no dispute with City and was "committed" to helping the team become a force. "I would like to make it clear to the fans what the situation is, so that they can understand my decision to fly home to Brazil," Robinho said on his Web site. "Earlier in the month I made Manchester City aware that I needed to return to Brazil, because of a family matter. The club agreed and I was grateful to them for this. Up until yesterday it was my understanding that the club had no problem with my plans."
He said Kaka's decision not to move to City had no bearing on his reasons to fly home.
"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 will return to the club and hope to sort out this matter as soon as possible. I am committed to helping Manchester City become the force the owners assured me they will become." City stunned the football world when it beat out Chelsea to sign Robinho in the final minutes of the transfer window in September, paying Madrid a British record transfer fee of 32.5 million pounds (then $51 million; euro40 million).
While he has scored 12 goals for the club, City was still in the bottom half of the English Premier League standings and only four points above the relegation zone. The team was knocked out of the FA Cup by League Championship club Nottingham Forest. Robinho has not been afraid to criticize his teammates in public or advise Hughes about who he should be signing.
"They are content with just finishing fifth or sixth," Robinho said last month. "They are content with little, thinking just a draw might be good enough. They lack the mentality of champions. I have learned that being second is worthless so I want to inspire a winning mentality."
Since those comments at the start of December, City has picked up only eight points from a possible 18 in the league _ prompting the team to pursue new players in the January transfer window. Kaka topped that list and City pursued him in a blaze of publicity to help Sheik Mansour's Abu Dhabi United Group achieve its ambition of turning City into a global force.
City was offering about 100 million pounds to lure Kaka away from the 2007 Champions League winners to a club without a major trophy since 1976. But the deal collapsed late Monday when Kaka said he was staying at Milan, turning down a reported weekly salary of nearly 500,000 pounds.
"We had entered into a confidentiality agreement (with Milan) weeks ago but, in my personal opinion, they bottled it (backed out)," Cook said. "We had gone through a three or four-stage process in which Milan made it quite clear Kaka was for sale and we made it clear we intended to bring him to Manchester City. "As we got to the next stage there were questions they could not answer and I think the political and public pressure made them change their conditions."
City did sign injury-prone Craig Bellamy from West Ham on Wednesday for about 14 million pounds ($20.6 million; euro15.5 million) _ twice the price it took the Hammers to bring the Wales striker from Liverpool in July 2007.
In 18 months at Upton Park, the 29-year-old Bellamy has appeared in just 24 league matches and scored seven goals.