Robinho keen to join Madrid

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Brazil striker Robinho said it was time to leave Santos and join Real Madrid.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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Brazil striker Robinho said it was time to leave Santos and join Real Madrid. Speaking on Wednesday after helping Brazil win the Confederations Cup in Germany, Robinho said he would try and persuade Santos president Marcelo Teixeira to let him go. Teixeira has said he will only sell the striker if a club offers the US$50 million stipulated in the buyout clause in Robinho's contract, which runs until 2008. "Now is the time to leave Santos. I'm going to Brazil and speak to Santos' president. I hope he understands me. I want to play for Madrid," Robinho was quoted as saying by news agency Efe. Rejoining coach Luxemburgo Robinho said he would benefit from a move to Spain, which would allow him to rejoin Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo, with whom he won the Brazilian title last December. "It's the best place for a Brazilian to play, the best players in the world are there. I know Vanderlei Luxemburgo and the way he works," Robinho said. The 21-year-old also said a move would help him protect his family. His mother was kidnapped for 40 days at the end of last year. Madrid, which has had first option on the Brazil striker since November and has reportedly agreed personal terms with Robinho, recently increased its offer to US$21 million. Key role Robinho's agent Wagner Ribeiro, who is representing Madrid in the negotiations with Santos, said that the Spanish team will withdraw its interest if a deal isn't concluded by July 8. Robinho has played a key part in Santos' revival over recent years and has earned comparisons with Pele, who also played for the team. In 2002, Santos won its first national title since 1968, and reached the Copa Libertadores final a year later. Luxemburgo led the team to the league again in December before joining Madrid. (AP)

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