City warn 'mischief makers' over Robinho transfer claim

Cook rules out Brazilian's sale after agents tell Abu Dhabi paper he is set to leave

The Manchester City executive chairman Garry Cook warned Robinho's representatives against "mischief making" last night after another day of intrigue surrounding the player's future threatened to derail an important trip here to parade the club in front of its Abu Dhabi owners.

Cook's unequivocal declaration that the £32.5m Brazilian would not be leaving this January came after his representatives had contacted Abu Dhabi media outlets yesterday to indicate that he is on his way out of the club, with Barcelona – whose officials will be here for tomorrow's Club World Cup draw – ready to make a move.

Though the briefings denote that Robinho would be happy to leave City for Barcelona – that much is an open secret, since he told Spanish media last month that it would be "fun" to join the Catalans – Cook said there were "no plans" to meet Barcelona here this week to talk about the player who represented the Abu Dhabi United Group's first signing for City. "I think some people are trying to make mischief when they talk about him leaving," Cook said. "I don't know where these things are coming from. They're not coming from us. We want to talk to him this week but only about getting him fit to play for us again."

There was an element of Ealing comedy at times yesterday to the latest saga surrounding Robinho, who revealed a little of his ability with a spectacular 30-yard effort here last night in front of chairman Khaldoon Mubarak and a dozen members of the Arab fraternity on the new winter training facility which has been created for City. Robinho's representatives, staying at the same hotel as City – the seven-star Emirates Palace – contacted The National, the Abu Dhabi daily paper, with news of Robinho's determination to leave. The paper, which is owned by the emirate's royal family, subsequently contacted City for their response, alerting them to the briefings about the 25-year-old, who will make the short flight to Doha today to be assessed by Brazil ahead of Saturday's friendly with England. There was at least one unscripted encounter in a hotel corridor yesterday between the club and the player's representatives.

However much Robinho may wish to leave City, the manager Mark Hughes believes he is of value to the club in their quest for a Champions League place and has no motive for allowing him to leave in January. There is more of an acceptance that next summer may see him leaving the club. City are hoping that the player, out since August with a stress fracture of the ankle, will not be deemed fit by Brazil to face England. He is expected to be ruled out and return to Abu Dhabi but the prospects of him playing for City against a UAE invitation XI tomorrow evening seem slight.

The Brazilian's return to fitness will certainly cause Hughes headaches with Craig Bellamy, currently filling the left-wing role, City's outstanding player of the campaign.

The drama played out before an unwitting Abu Dhabi public, whose awareness of the name "Robinho" seems minimal. Many locals struggle to name any City player – a rough straw poll suggests Emmanuel Adebayor features most in local minds – and none of the large club entourage was mobbed by fans when they arrived on Monday evening. Though the 20,000 tickets on sale for tomorrow's game sold out in three weeks, Abu Dhabi's main sporting event of this week appears to be Monday's one-day cricket international between New Zealand and Pakistan.

Hughes revealed yesterday that Robinho has undertaken an initial training session with City's first team as part of his recuperation. "People have not had the opportunity to talk about his play so, for them, the next best thing is to speculate about his future," Hughes said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor