On 2 September 2008, Manchester City announced the signing of Brazilian striker Robinho for a then-British record fee of £32.5 million. He was the club's first signing since reaching an agreement to accept the Abu Dhabi United Group as their new owners.
Robinho began his professional career in 2002 with Santos and received his first senior cap for Brazil the following year. In 2005, he moved to Real Madrid, helping them to back-to-back La Liga titles in 2007 and 2008. In his three seasons there, he made 132 appearances in all competitions, scoring 35 goals. By the summer of 2008, however, he had fallen out with club owner Ramon Calderon, who had tried to use Robinho as part of a deal to bring Cristiano Ronaldo to the club, and demanded a transfer.
Initial speculation focused on Chelsea as Robinho's likely destination, as one of the few clubs who could afford him. But the deep pockets of Manchester City's new owners allowed them to make a shock move for Robinho on the last day of the transfer window. In addition to the record fee, the four-year deal included wages of £160,000 per week.
In his first season at Eastlands, he made 41 appearances, scoring 15 goals, while City finished in a disappointing 10th place. Injuries limited his effectiveness in his second season and he scored only a single goal in 12 appearances before returning to Santos on loan for the remainder of the season. On 31 August 2010, he moved to AC Milan for an undisclosed fee.