FOOTBALL

Robinho arrested over alleged nightclub rape

Brazil and Manchester City player Robinho, 25, was arrested and bailed over allegations of rape in a British nightclub. Robinho's spokesman said the player "strenuously denies" the allegations. Manchester City gave their "full support" to Robinho.

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AFP - Manchester City gave their "full support" to Brazilian striker Robinho on Wednesday after he was arrested and bailed over allegations of rape in a British nightclub.

Robinho, 25, Britain's most expensive player, was questioned by police on Tuesday after an allegation of serious sexual assault in a nightclub in Leeds, northern England. He denies any wrongdoing.

Manchester City said in a statement: "The club have been liaising with and assisting both the player in question and the authorities in relation to the West Yorkshire Police investigation.

"Both parties have been given the full support of the football club. No charges of any nature have been brought against the player and no further statement will be made whilst the investigation is continuing."

Robinho's spokesman said the player "strenuously denies" the allegations.

"We can confirm that Robinho met the police today (Tuesday), as pre-arranged and as part of a criminal investigation," spokesman Chris Nathaniel said in a statement on Robinho's official website.

"He strenuously denies any allegation of wrongdoing or criminality and is happy to cooperate with the police if further required."

West Yorkshire Police confirmed a man was arrested on Tuesday, questioned over an alleged incident on January 14 and released on bail pending further inquiries.

Robinho returned to training on Wednesday as his club prepared to face Newcastle United later in the day.

The Sun newspaper reported a teenaged university student had alleged she was raped by Robinho in the VIP area of The Space nightclub in Leeds.

The report said Robinho, who is married and has a son, had gone to the nightclub for a night out with his teammates.

Earlier this month Robinho walked out of the team's warm weather training camp in Tenerife and headed for Brazil, citing an "important family matter", thought to be his 25th birthday.

He returned to Manchester on Sunday and held a meeting with the club's manager Mark Hughes the following day. Hughes said Robinho would be fined for leaving the training camp without permission.

Robinho, whose full name is Robson de Souza, joined Manchester City from Spanish giants Real Madrid in September for 32.5 million pounds (34.8 million euros, 46.2 million dollars).

He arrived at the club following its takeover by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi.

Chelsea had been the frontrunners to sign Robinho before City's billionaire owners topped the London club's bid on the transfer deadline day last summer.

Reports say Robinho is unsettled at Manchester City and was disappointed by the failure of the club's audacious attempt to sign his Brazil teammate Kaka from AC Milan.

A reputation for partying has pursued Robinho throughout his career.

While at Real Madrid in 2007, he fell out with then club manager Fabio Capello after he was late returning from international duty having been seen in a nightclub the night before.

Despite the injection of new funds, Manchester City were just four points clear of the relegation zone in the English Premier League ahead of Wednesday's match. 

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