Robinho’s Legal Problem: from Professional Soccer Player to Convicted of Sexual Violence

After wasting all his legal resources, the Brazilian Robinho was sentenced to 9 years in prison by the Italian justice

Robinho at Manchester City in 2009.

Photo: Flickr - Alfonso Jimenez

LatinAmerican Post | Theoscar Mogollón

Santos FC, Real Madrid, Manchester City and AC Milan are just some of the professional clubs that Robson de Souza, known worldwide as Robinho, passed through. Incredible as it may seem, the Brazilian went from being a soccer promise to being sentenced to 9 years in prison for raping a woman during his stay in Milan in 2013.

As reported by EFE, the Italian Court of Cassation handed down the sentence to both the 37-year-old player and Ricardo Falco, a friend of Robinho, although the question arises as to whether both will be able to serve the sentence imposed in 2017 and initially confirmed in 2020. It is worth mentioning that the soccer player is in Brazil and that would be an obstacle, since the Brazilian Constitution prohibits the extradition of its citizens.

The incident would have occurred in a nightclub in the city of Milan, where Robinho and five friends raped a young Albanian woman who was there celebrating her birthday. The investigation, based on the testimonies of the victim and others involved, found that the group got drunk and abused her, who was unconscious.

A revealing sound

Robinho's soccer career continued as usual despite the rape accusation. During that five-year period from 2017, the Brazilian attacker played with his country's Atlético Mineiro and in Turkey with clubs Sivasspor and Istanbul Basaksehir. But when he was about to sign again with Santos in 2020, an audio fully questioned his speech of innocence.

"I laugh because I couldn't care less. The woman was completely drunk, she doesn't even know what happened," assured the record published by the newspaper Globo Esporte and that, in addition, was part of the evidence. Those revealing words by Robinho meant the end of his career as a professional, as Santos' fans and sponsors protested and prevented his return at all costs. Since then, the player has not set foot on a football field to concentrate on defending his case.

On the other hand, it should be remembered that this is not the first time that Robinho has been investigated for sexual violence. In 2009, during his time at Manchester City, the Brazilian was questioned for having sexually assaulted a woman in a local city. However, the British authorities chose not to proceed with the case.

Other soccer players sentenced to prison

Certainly, this is not the first case where a soccer player is sentenced to prison for some reprehensible action. Brazilian goalkeeper Bruno Fernandes da Sousa was arrested in 2010 for having kidnapped and murdered his ex-partner for not wanting to recognize the child he had with her. The authorities sentenced him to 22 years in prison, but he was released after 6, when his lawyers filed a habeas corpus petition.

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Another highly viral case in Latin America occurred in Mexico in 2012. Omar "Gato" Ortíz had a series of ups and downs in his career due to doping problems. However, when his career was heading to a successful conclusion, the goalkeeper was accused of kidnapping and for allegedly having links with a Mexican Cartel. In January 2019, he was sentenced to 75 years in prison.

Likewise, two renowned Colombian soccer players also spent a few days behind bars. In 1993, René Higuita was sentenced to six months in prison for his involvement in the kidnapping and subsequent release of a friend's daughter. While Freddy Rincón was charged with a crime of drug trafficking and spent four months in a prison in São Paulo, Brazil.

Finally, the most recent and mediatic case involved the Brazilian Ronaldinho in 2020. The charismatic and controversial former soccer player and Ballon d'Or winner was arrested by the Paraguayan police after entering the country with a false passport. Ronaldinho spent four months in jail, where he competed in a futsal tournament, which he later won.