Italian authorities have asked Brazil to extradite football star Robinho to serve a nine-year jail sentence for the gang rape of an Albanian woman in a Milan nightclub.
The former Manchester City star, 38, was sentenced in 2019 over the 2013 attack on the 23-year-old when he played for AC Milan.
The Brazilian international, real name Robson De Souza, has appealed against the conviction but it has been upheld by multiple Italian courts, including the Supreme Court of Cassation in January this year.
Now the Italian justice ministry has written a request to Brazil to extradite Robinho along with his friend Ricardo Falco who was also sentenced in the case.
The Brazilian Constitution does not allow their citizens to be extradited from their homeland.
After the charges were first brought, a Brazilian newspaper revealed the contents of wiretapped phone conversations the footballer had with friends, including one in which he attempts to laugh off the accusations.
‘I’m laughing because I don’t care,’ Robinho could be heard saying. ‘The woman was completely drunk. She doesn’t even know what happened.’
The charges date back to 2013 when Robinho was aged 28 and playing in Serie A for AC Milan.
On the night of January 22 the footballer and a group of at least six people, including his wife, had been drinking in the Sio Café nightclub in the city. They met the Albanian woman there as she was celebrating her birthday with some of her friends.
At some point during the evening, Robinho walked his wife back home before rejoining his friends in the club, where they began drinking with the woman.
The woman says Robinho, who was due to celebrate his own birthday three days later, and his friends forced her to drink until she was nearly unconscious.
It was then that they took her into a private dressing room where Robinho and Falco sexually assaulted her while the other four men watched.
Robinho and Falco then ‘shared’ the woman with the other four men, Italian media reported at the time.
The sportsman was arrested and questioned over the allegations in 2014. He admitted having oral sex with the woman, but claimed it was consensual.
After questioning, police wiretapped Robinho’s phones and recorded conversations where he bragged about the attack with his friends.
During the investigation, four of Robinho’s friends who were allegedly involved in the attack but have never been identified left the country for Brazil.
The same year Robinho left Italy to return to play for his boyhood club Santos, and Falco also left the country.
The pair were tried in absentia in November 2017 and found guilty of rape, with judges handing down a nine-year sentence.
Speaking during the sentencing hearing, the judges made it plain that ‘contempt’ for the victim shown in wiretapped phone calls was an aggravating factor.
‘Particularly negative emphasis must be given to the tone and expressions used in commenting on the events, describing the girl with humiliating epithets and often in crude and contemptuous terms,’ they said.
‘The defendants even laughed several times at the event, thus highlighting an absolute contempt for the condition of the victim, who was exposed to repeated humiliations, as well as acts of sexual violence through particularly invasive abuses.’
The pair have also been ordered to jointly pay the woman damages of $73,000.
The footballer came through the academy at Brazilian club Santos where he was often compared to Pele as one of the top prospects they had produced. He played at Real Madrid and Manchester City before a loan stint at Milan between 2013 and 2014, and was also capped for his country.