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England embark on the road to South Africa 2010 when they kick off their qualifying campaign against Andorra on Saturday. Click here for the best ourtight World Cup odds.

Manchester City have stunned the football world by signing Brazilian forward Robinho from Real Madrid for a British record transfer fee of about £32.5m.

City outbid Chelsea who had been chasing the 24-year-old all summer.

“I am absolutely delighted to get the opportunity to work with such an incredible talent like Robinho,” City boss Mark Hughes told the club website.

“This is a real statement of intent as to the ambitions of this club.

“I have said that in order to compete with the best teams in the Premier League we have to be in the market for players of this calibre, and Robinho is undoubtedly one of the best players in the world.

“I am really looking forward to introducing him to the rest of the squad, and to the City fans at the earliest opportunity.”

After failing to sign Robinho, Chelsea issued a statement saying they were unable to agree a deal with Real as they were not prepared to pay the Spanish club’s asking price.

City made the surprise attempt to sign Robinho on transfer deadline day after earlier agreeing to a takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group.

Real president Ramon Calderon explained that the club felt they had little choice but to sell Robinho.

“We have sold Robinho for reasons of a human nature and for sporting reasons,” Calderon told Spanish television station Veo.

“The fact that he has accepted an offer from Manchester City says that he is not going for sporting reasons.

“It’s an important sum of money. It’s not the objective of Real Madrid to sell players, neither do we need the money, but for reasons of human and sporting nature, it has been decided this is for the best.

“It’s a decision agreed by all the coaching staff, who understand it is best for the player and for the club.

“(Coach Bernd) Schuster thought until yesterday that he could recover the player, but that has not been the case.

“Every time I have spoken with him he was very sad, crying and asking to leave Spain. Real Madrid are more important than any one player.

“He’s a great kid, but badly advised.”

Robinho could now make his debut for City in their next league game, which is against Chelsea on 13 September.

England embark on the road to South Africa 2010 when they kick off their qualifying campaign against Andorra on Saturday. Click here for the best ourtight World Cup odds.

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