Robinho fires agent who made £4m from City deal

Jason Burt
Saturday 27 September 2008 00:00 BST

Robinho announced yesterday that he had sacked Wagner Ribeiro, the agent who handled his recent £32.5m transfer to Manchester City and who, as The Independent revealed on Thursday, received a payment of £4.2m for negotiating the deal.

The decision reflects the Brazil striker's unhappiness at how his advisers dealt with his departure from Real Madrid. The 24-year-old and his agent were criticised for a press conference which Robinho held in Spain to try and force through a long-mooted deal with Chelsea.

Robinho has been a client of Ribeiro, one of the most-high profile agents in South America, for six years and his announcement, after the two men met in the Brazilian city of Santos on Wednesday afternoon, is a surprise. Robinho will now be represented by his father, Gilvan de Souza.

"I am thankful for everything Wagner has done for my career up to this moment," Robinho said in a statement on his website. "But our work cycle has come to an end, and this is the moment for each one to go his separate ways. I have new targets for my career with Manchester City and the time has come to have my father by my side, having a direct participation in my decisions."

Robinho said the decision was purely professional but though he says he is happy at City, there is no doubt he was expecting to move to Chelsea and was bewildered by events on the final day of the transfer window.

Robinho had been allowed to miss City's Carling Cup defeat at Brighton on Wednesday evening because, the club said, he had "domestic matters" to sort out in Brazil. "He has had a period in his personal and football life where a lot of decisions were made," City's manager, Mark Hughes, said yesterday. "He had issues back home as well that needed resolving, so it was more about clearing his mind."

City paid Ribeiro £4.2m on deadline day to ensure that the transfer went through. The club's new owners, Abu Dhabi United Group, instantly met Real's asking price and also payed the full transfer fee up front – something that is extremely rare in football. Payment schedules are usually agreed over a two- to four-year period.

City's new owners were determined to sign a high-profile player and wanted to make sure that Real would not, as they had intended, accept Chelsea's offer. They were also making a clear statement of intent and financial power which was meant to make other agents and football's powerbrokers take notice of what was happening at Eastlands.

It certainly worked, even if Ribeiro has, partly as a result, now seen his links to Robinho severed. However, as as with the player's transfer fee, the agent's fee was paid up in full.

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