Santos and Robinho decided on Friday to suspend the deal that brought the former Real Madrid player back to Brazil after sponsors reportedly threatened to cut contracts with the club for signing a player convicted of rape charges in Italy.

“Santos and Robinho have by mutual agreement resolved to suspend the contract signed on 10 October so that player can concentrate exclusively on his court defence in Italy,” the club said in a statement posted on Twitter.

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Robinho, 36, began his career at Santos before starring Real Madrid, Manchester City and AC Milan, among other clubs.

However, first fans and then sponsors expressed indignation at the signing because of the Italian court case.

“To Santos fans and people who like me, rest assured I am going to prove my innocence to you,” a visibly uneasy Robinho said in a video message released on Instagram on Friday.

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