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Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Hughes quashes Robinho rift talk

Robinho missed a penalty against Sunderland on Sunday

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has played down reports of a rift between himself and Robinho.

In January, the 25-year-old Brazilian playmaker was fined for leaving the club's training camp on the Spanish island of Tenerife without permission.

Rumours have persisted that they have a poor relationship - along with reports that Robinho will leave in the summer.

But Hughes told BBC Radio 5 Live: "The truth is it's a lot closer to being a lot calmer than people would imagine."

Robinho joined City for a British record £32.5m in September and signed a four-year deal.

He got off to a great start, scoring 12 goals before the end of the year, but has yet to get off the mark in 2009 and made that unscheduled departure in January by flying home to Brazil without telling Hughes that he had to attend some "family business".

"There's a perception that there are issues between me and Robinho, and Robinho and his team-mates, and that everything is doom and gloom and the dressing room is fractured," said Hughes.

At the time we wanted to make it happen, but we're not going to revisit

Man City boss Mark Hughes on trying to sign AC Milan star Kaka

"We have all the predictable stories emanating from outside parties but it's calmer than people would imagine."

The forward has also been linked with a move away from Eastlands at the end of the season but Hughes is not ready to sell.

"Robinho is in my plans long term. People who say otherwise are just being mischievous," he insisted.

"He is an outstanding player who wants to be part of what we are doing but he is also a professional football player and he doesn't enjoy getting beaten."

Meanwhile, any hope of Kaka coming to Eastlands to forge a partnership with Robinho has also been quashed by Hughes.

The club failed with an audacious £100m bid to bring the 26-year-old AC Milan attacking midfielder to Eastlands in the January transfer window and the City manager says that door is now firmly closed on the Brazilian.

"When an opportunity presents itself to bring in one of the top players in world football you have to move quickly to make it happen, as you never know if that opportunity will present itself again in the future," Hughes said.

"The likelihood is that it won't, but that situation has gone - at the time we wanted to make it happen, but we're not going to revisit."

City's executive chairman Garry Cook defended their approach for the Brazilian.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "It wasn't the amount of money, it was Manchester City putting themselves in that arena that was the biggest surprise for most people.


"It goes back to the understanding of what we were doing. We'd put four months of work into it but there was the perception that it was a whim.

"It absolutely wasn't that and we wouldn't expect to be doing anything at this club on a whim.

"It was well thought through and there was return on the investment as he is a great player and a great character.

"We felt he fitted into Mark's plans and fitted into the character of the club and where we want to go.

"When you're making those investments you have to be careful when your talking about the levels to make sure it's the right move and we felt it was the right move."

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see also
Robinho bailed over 'sex assault'
28 Jan 09 |  Manchester
Man City poised to fine Robinho
27 Jan 09 |  Man City
Robinho explains Man City absence
20 Jan 09 |  Man City
AC Milan 'bottled Kaka transfer'
20 Jan 09 |  Man City
Man City move for Kaka collapses
20 Jan 09 |  Man City

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