Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Monday hoped that former “Seleçao” striker Robinho would serve in Brazil the nine-year prison sentence to which he was sentenced in Italy for rape. Robinho, 40, was convicted in 2017 for gang rape committed in 2013, while he was playing for AC Milan, on an Albanian woman who was celebrating her 23rd birthday in a Milan club. A conviction confirmed on appeal in 2020, then made final by the Italian Court of Cassation in 2022.

At the beginning of 2022, the Milan prosecutor requested the extradition of the ex-player – full name Robson de Souza – and issued an international arrest warrant against him.

Brazil does not extradite its nationals, but a Brazilian court is due to decide on March 20 whether Robinho, who is banned from leaving the country, should serve his sentence in a local prison. “Robinho has already been convicted in Italy and should have served his sentence here. He will be tried this month. I hope he will pay the price for his irresponsibility,” Lula said in a television interview, adding that rape is an “unforgivable” crime.

“All people who commit the crime of rape must go to prison,” the president continued. Robinho “was luckier than 99% of young Brazilians, he earned a lot of money and became very famous. He didn’t need to do that,” Lula added. According to the judgment which condemned him in Italy, the ex-Brazilian international and five of his compatriots had made their victim drink “to the point of leaving her unconscious and incapable of defending herself” and then had “sexual intercourse several times immediately” with her. And the former player showed “particular contempt” towards the victim, “brutally humiliated”.

Robinho last played in 2020 with Istanbul club Basaksehir, in the Turkish Superlig, before leaving the country to return to Brazil. Another Brazilian footballer, Dani Alves, was sentenced in February in Spain to four and a half years in prison for a rape committed in a Barcelona nightclub at the end of 2022.