Football: Italy issues international arrest warrant for Brazilian Robinho

Italy's top court confirmed Robinho's conviction for rape. PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

ROME (REUTERS, AFP) - Italy's ministry of justice has issued an international arrest warrant for former AC Milan and Brazil striker Robinho after the country's top court confirmed his conviction for rape, a ministry spokesman said on Wednesday (Feb 16).

The ministry has asked the global police agency Interpol to enact the warrant.

Robinho, whose full name is Robson de Souza, lives in Brazil. The South American country does not extradite its nationals, which means Robinho would only face arrest if he travelled abroad.

A Milan court in 2017 found Robinho and five other Brazilians guilty of gang raping an Albanian woman, celebrating her 23rd birthday in Milan, after plying her with alcohol in a discotheque in January 2013.

Jacopo Gnocchi, the lawyer for the victim, said it made no difference to his client whether Robinho served his sentence in Italy or Brazil.

"The main thing is he serves it, particularly for the crime committed, to protect women," he said.

The conviction and a nine-year sentence was confirmed by an appeals court in 2020 and validated by Italy's Supreme Court last month.

Robinho, 38, has always denied the charge.

The forward, capped 100 times by Brazil, started his career at Santos in 2002 and joined Real Madrid in 2005, going on to play for Manchester City from 2008 to 2010, and Milan for four years until 2014.

He also played in China with Guangzhou Evergrande, Atletico Mineiro in Brazil and Turkish clubs Sivasspor and Istanbul Basaksehir.

In October 2020, Robinho was forced to abandon a move back to his first club Santos amid pressure put on the Brazilian giants by sponsors.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.