Wed, Jul 23, 2008 - Page 19 News List

Real Madrid pull plug on Robinho’s Olympic dream


Robinho controls the ball during a friendly match against Rio de Janeiro’s state soccer team in Volta Redonda, Brazil, on June 22.


Robinho was dropped from the Brazilian Olympic team on Monday after Real Madrid said a medical examination discovered the striker has a groin injury.

The Brazilian soccer confederation criticized the Spanish club and said the decision was a “disrespect to the entity, to football and to Brazilian fans.”

Brazil physiotherapist Luiz Alberto Rosan said he knew of Robinho’s injury, but that the player would have had time to heal before the Olympic tournament.

The 24-year-old Robinho was dropped on the day he and his team-mates were expected to report for training with Brazil. He was one of the three players over the age of 23 summoned by coach Dunga and Real Madrid was not obligated to release him.

The Brazilian confederation said that last year it helped the Spanish club by allowing Robinho to delay his release for the Copa America, and that it was a surprise that Madrid did not reciprocate now.

“Unhappily, I can’t go with Brazil to the games, but it is Real Madrid’s decision and I respect it,” Robinho said.

Dunga summoned Cruzeiro’s Ramires as Robinho’s replacement.

“Real Madrid have contacted the Brazilian FA via fax, explaining the injury and requesting the player’s absence from the national squad list for the Olympic Games,” the club said in a statement on its Web site.

The perennial Spanish powerhouse said the injury was discovered when the player arrived for a medical examination and light training along with most of the club’s squad.

“It was then that Real Madrid doctors diagnosed a groin injury. The club understands the best thing for the player is to complete preseason training with the squad where he will be given rehabilitation tailored to his injury and where he will be under constant supervision,” the club said.

Robinho’s agent, Wagner Ribeiro, said he has never seen the player “so sad.”

“He is an extremely happy person,” Ribeiro told the UOL Web site. “The last time I saw him like this was when his mother was kidnapped.”

Robinho’s mother was kidnapped and later released unharmed in Brazil in 2004.

Robinho had not joined Madrid for a preseason camp in Algarve, Portugal, as he was preparing to join Brazil for the Olympics. On Monday, however, he flew with the Spanish champions to Austria prior to a training period at Irdning.

The Olympic gold medal is the only significant soccer title Brazil has never won.

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