Soccer Italy's Supreme Court confirms Brazil striker Robinho 9-year rape verdict

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Football - Argentina v Brazil - International Friendly - Emirates Stadium, London - 3/9/06 Robinho - Brazil looking dejected during the game Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Michael Regan/File Photo

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ROME, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Italy's Supreme Court confirmed the conviction of former AC Milan and Brazil striker Robinho to nine years in prison for his involvement in a gang rape of an Albanian woman in 2013, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

The ruling cannot be challenged and is definitive.

In 2017 a Milan court found Robinho and five other Brazilians guilty of assaulting the woman after plying her with alcohol in a discotheque. The conviction was confirmed by an appeals court in 2020.

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Robinho, whose full name is Robson de Souza, lives in Brazil. His Italian lawyer Franco Moretti confirmed Wednesday's verdict, telling Reuters it was "deeply unfair".

Robinho, 37, played for top European soccer clubs Real Madrid, Manchester City and AC Milan, and signed a contract in 2020 to return to his very first club in Brazil, Santos.

However, the deal almost immediately fell apart after sponsors reportedly threatened to cut ties with the club for signing a player convicted of rape.

Italy could launch extradition proceedings now that Robinho has received a definitive verdict. However, Brazil has a long-standing tradition of not extraditing its own citizens.

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Reporting by Marco Carta, writing by Gianluca Semeraro; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel

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