REAL MADRID refused to sell Robinho to Chelsea because they were a Champions League rival.
That’s according to the Brazil international himself, who’s now revealed how he ended up joining Manchester City instead.
Robinho forged a reputation as one of the world’s brightest talents at Santos before linking up with La Liga giants Real in 2005.
And three years later he looked destined for Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea’s official website going as far as selling shirts with his name on.
Robinho ultimately joined the Blues’ Premier League rivals City instead in a then club-record deal worth £32.5m.
The 33-year-old has now shed light on why his prospective switch to west London fell through.
“I remember that last day of the window,” Robinho told the Daily Mail.
“Tick-tock… my agent called me and said, ‘You have this chance to go to City. There are other Brazilians there, Elano and Jo.’ So off I went.
“Two months earlier, I had spoken to Chelsea boss Phil Scolari.”
“But the Madrid board blocked it as they didn’t want me to go to a team in the Champions League that could be a direct rival.”
Robinho spent just one full season with City before returning to boyhood club Santos on loan in 2010.
The winger was sold to AC Milan the subsequent summer and has since spent time back at Santos, with Guangzhou Evergrande and Atletico Mineiro.
Chelsea and City, meanwhile, take on West Brom and Leicester respectively in the Premier League this weekend.