Brazilian star found guilty of rape
ROBINHO has been sentenced to nine years in prison after being found guilty of sexual assault.
The Sun reports the former Manchester City ace is one of a group of five convicted of assaulting an Albanian girl in a Milan nightclub on January 22, 2013.
Robinho was playing for AC Milan at the time.
The Brazilian, 33, who is currently playing in his homeland with Atletico Mineiro, has vowed to challenge the ruling.
Under Italian law he won't be sentenced until the appeals process has been finalised - which could take years.
A statement posted on his Instagram from his legal team said: "Regarding the news involving the striker Robinho, in an incident that occurred several years ago, we wish to clarify that he already declared his innocence and maintained he had no involvement whatsoever."
It added: "All legal steps are now being taken with regards to this decision by a court of first instance."
If he loses the appeal he would could be extradited to serve prison time in Italy.
Italian news agency ANSA reported that five other men were also accused of violently sexually assaulting an Albanian woman and that another member of the group, Ricardo Falco, was also sentenced to nine years in jail.
The other four men had not been found by Italian police, ANSA said.
Robinho's lawyer, Marisa Alija, issued a statement saying that "We clarify that he has already defended himself from these allegations, and insist he had no participation in that episode." Brazil does not extradite its own citizens when they are sentenced in other countries.
Robinho moved to Europe amid much hype in 2005 when he joined Real Madrid from Santos.
He broke the British transfer record in 2008 when Man City lured him from Real Madrid for £32 million (AU$40 million).
After a bright start to life in England, he soon started to struggle and was eventually sent out on loan to former club Santos after just 16 months.
At the end of the season, he moved to AC Milan where he was joined by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and later Antonio Cassano en route to winning Serie A.
He would spend five years in Italy before moving to China with Guangzhou Evergande and then onto Atletico Mineiro in 2016.
Robinho had previously been accused of sexual assault while at City in 2009, but was later cleared.
This article originally appeared in The Sun and is republished here with permission.