Manchester City and Brazil striker Robinho has been arrested over allegations of a serious sexual assault in a British nightclub, police and his spokesman said yesterday.
The spokesman for 25-year-old Robinho, Britain’s most expensive player, said he had been interviewed by police on Tuesday but “strenuously denied” the allegations.
“We can confirm that Robinho met the police today, as pre-arranged and as part of a criminal investigation,” spokesman Chris Nathaniel said in a statement on Robinho’s official Web site. “He strenuously denies any allegation of wrongdoing or criminality and is happy to cooperate with the police if further required.”
West Yorkshire police in northern England confirmed a man was arrested on Tuesday and was questioned in connection with a serious sexual assault in a Leeds nightclub on Jan. 14.
A spokesman said the man had been released on bail pending further inquiries.
Manchester City declined to comment on the arrest.
The Sun newspaper reported a teenaged student had alleged she was raped by Robinho at The Space nightclub in Leeds.
The report said Robinho, who is married and has a son, had gone to the nightclub for a night out with his teammates.
Earlier this month Robinho walked out of the team’s warm weather training camp in Tenerife and headed for Brazil, citing an “important family matter,” thought to be his birthday.
He returned to Manchester on Sunday and the following day held a meeting with the club’s manager, Mark Hughes, who said Robinho would be fined for leaving the training camp without permission.
Robinho, whose full name is Robson de Souza, joined Manchester City from Spanish giants Real Madrid in September for £32.5 million (US$34.8 million).
He arrived at the club following its takeover by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi.
Chelsea had been the frontrunners to sign Robinho before City’s billionaire owners topped the London club’s bid on the transfer deadline day last summer.
Reports say Robinho is unsettled at Manchester City and was disappointed by the failure of an audacious attempt by the club’s owners to sign his Brazil teammate Kaka from AC Milan.
The club, who were facing Newcastle yesterday, are just four points clear of the relegation zone in the English Premier League.