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Robinho: Former Brazil, Manchester City, and Real Madrid Star Faces Nine-Year Rape Sentence

Former Brazil international and Real Madrid star Robinho has been ordered to serve a nine-year prison sentence in Brazil for his involvement in the rape of a 22-year-old woman in Italy in 2013. The ruling is the latest development in a lengthy legal process that has spanned nearly a decade and seen Robinho convicted multiple times for his role in the gang rape.

Background to Robinho’s Case

Robinho was playing for Italian giants AC Milan in January 2013 when the rape took place at a nightclub in Milan. Italian prosecutors alleged that Robinho and five other men took part in the rape of an 22-year-old Albanian woman. 

The woman said she was rendered helpless after her drink was spiked with drugs. Police mounted an investigation following a complaint by the woman and gathered evidence including phone conversations between Robinho and his friends discussing the incident. 

Initial Conviction in Italy

In November 2017, an Italian court found Robinho guilty of sexual assault and sentenced him to nine years in prison. By this time, Robinho had already returned to Brazil and Italy does not extradite its citizens. Nevertheless, the conviction was a major blow to Robinho’s career and reputation. He appealed the verdict but it was upheld by an Italian appeals court in 2020.

Brazil Rules He Must Serve Sentence

With the conviction now finalized in Italy, prosecutors there issued an international arrest warrant for Robinho. However, as he remained in Brazil, the only way for the sentence to be enforced was for the Brazilian justice system to agree to let him serve it there. In March 2024, a panel of judges in Brazil ruled that Robinho must serve his full nine-year term in prison in his home country.

While he will remain free pending a possible appeal, it is a major victory for the Italian legal process and sends a signal that Brazilian courts will respect legal rulings from other countries, even when it involves one of their citizens. The ruling also damages any hopes he may have had of reviving his football career which has been in limbo since the initial conviction.

Robinho’s Football Career

During his playing days, he was one of the most talented Brazilian forwards of his generation. He came through the famed Santos youth system and moved to Real Madrid in 2005, where he won two La Liga titles. A then-British record transfer took him to Manchester City in 2008. He spent two seasons in England before moving to AC Milan, where the rape took place.

After spells in China and back in Brazil, Robinho’s conviction effectively ended any chances of him moving to another top European club. He continues to maintain his innocence, recently telling a Brazilian TV network that the sex was consensual and claiming the case was motivated by racism in Italy. However, the legal process spanning multiple court levels in two different countries has all found him guilty.

Response to Ruling

The court’s decision in Brazil to uphold Robinho’s sentence has been praised by women’s rights advocates as an important demonstration that sexual violence will be punished. However, it has drawn a negative reaction from Robinho and his supporters in Brazil, who feel he is being unfairly targeted. 

Going forward, his lawyers are expected to appeal the ruling. But if it stands, he will likely have to begin serving his nine-year jail term, bringing his legal saga over the 2013 rape case to an end after nearly a decade of proceedings.

In summary, the prominent Brazilian footballer Robinho has hit a new low in his fall from grace as one of the most talented players of his generation. After years of denial and appeals, courts in both Italy and now Brazil have agreed he must face the consequences for taking part in a brutal gang rape in 2013. While the legal process is not over, the decision pushes him ever closer to finally serving a prison sentence for his heinous crime.

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