Manchester City's Robinho declares his admiration for Barcelona
Robinho, sidelined with a stress fracture of the ankle, is facing a difficult challenge to reclaim his first-team place at Eastlands in the wake of Craig Bellamy's impressive form since assuming the former Real Madrid forward's position. City manager Hughes expects the £32.5 million British record signing to return to action in the Carling Cup tie at home to Scunthorpe United on Oct 28. But how Robinho fits into Hughes's long-term plans is open to debate, with City thriving in the player's absence and summer signings Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tévez successfully filling the void created by Robinho's injury lay-off. Barcelona's interest in Robinho is long-standing and the European champions made tentative enquiries about the player's availability during the summer. Hughes is under no pressure to sell, however, and despite Robinho's reluctance to accept a bit-part role, the City manager has no immediate plans to part with a player who could prove crucial if Champions League qualification is within the club's reach in the closing weeks of the season. But although he insists that no contact has been made with Barcelona, Robinho admits that he would not be against a return to Spain to play for Pep Guardiola's team. He said: "I can assure you that my father, who is my only representative, hasn't said anything to me about Barcelona. I don't know anything. Besides, out of respect for Manchester City, the two clubs are the ones that should talk about my transfer or loan and then tell me. "It's not right for us to talk about this hypothetical transfer or loan until there's something more concrete. But of course I would like to play for Barcelona. Who wouldn't? We could really enjoy ourselves. "It would be a pleasure to play alongside Messi, Alves, Xavi, Iniesta, Ibrahimovic, everyone. They are a great team. I have played against them and I know all about their quality, but until now I have only been able to play with them on the PlayStation!" Robinho made just three appearances for City prior to his injury at the end of August, but he insists that he remains committed to helping the club win the Premier League. He said: "It is no secret that [in the summer] there was clear interest from Barcelona in signing me, but City didn't want to negotiate. I was declared untransferable and that's the way it stays. I'm concentrating on doing the best I can for City. "We're thinking big now. We have built a very strong side that has aspirations of winning the Premier League."
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