Barcelona play down Robinho rumours

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The Independent Football

Barcelona technical secretary Txiki Begiristain has played down speculation linking the Catalans with a move for Manchester City forward Robinho.

The Brazilian is reportedly unsettled in England and pushing for a transfer from Eastlands in January, although those rumours were today quashed by City's executive chairman Garry Cook.

City are currently preparing for tomorrow's friendly against the UAE national side in Abu Dhabi, and the arrival of a Barcelona delegation in the Gulf state has increased speculation over Robinho's future.

Begiristain, director of football Raul Sanhllei and board member Albert Perrin are in Abu Dhabi as representatives of Barca to attend tomorrow's draw for next month's FIFA Club World Cup.

With Robinho present as part of the City squad at the Emirates Palace training camp as he recovers from an ankle injury, the presence of Barca officials has been taken as a sign transfer talks are imminent.

But Begiristain insists talk of meeting City representatives is premature and revealed a possible bid for Robinho has not been a topic of discussion between himself and Barca coach Pep Guardiola.

"We won't be meeting with City," Begiristain told

"There's a prior stage missing, which is a meeting between Guardiola and me. Once the decision has been taken, we will follow the strategy for any signing.

"This meeting - between the manager and the technical secretary - hasn't taken place yet.

"So we're going to see the City match and that's all."