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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 November, 2004, 20:34 GMT
Brazil footballer's mother seized
Robinho has been hailed as Brazil's new football prodigy
Armed men have raided a private garden party and kidnapped the mother of Robinho, one of Brazilian football's brightest young stars.

The gunmen seized Marina Lima de Souza, 43, at a barbecue in the town of Praia Grande, 75km (45 miles) from Sao Paulo.

The kidnap came shortly after media reports in Brazil linked Robinho, 20, with a lucrative move to Real Madrid.

The men fled with their captive in her car, which was later found abandoned. Police have not received any demands.

Other guests at the Saturday night barbecue were locked in a bathroom while the men made their getaway with Ms de Souza.

Detective Alberto Torrassa confirmed the kidnappers have not yet made contact with the authorities.

"Our target at the moment is to bring back the victim safely, that's our only worry," he said.

In demand

Robinho was scheduled to play in a league game away to Criciuma on Sunday afternoon, but Santos club president Marcelo Teixeira said the forward would be excused from the squad to join the rest of his family.

The player made his name two years ago when he played a major part in winning the championship for Santos for the first time in their history.

But Robinho has won just two full caps for Brazil, and was part of the youthful national squad that failed to qualify for the Olympic Games earlier this year.

This season he has scored 21 times for Santos, the second-highest tally in the Brazilian league.

His growing reputation has seen him linked with a host of European clubs including Athletico Madrid, PSV Eindhoven, Benfica and Chelsea as well as Real Madrid.

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