Brazil's Robinho apologises to Real over late return

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MADRID, Oct 25 (Reuters) Real Madrid forward Robinho has apologised for his late return from international duty with Brazil last week, but played down reports that a late night party might have contributed to his delay.

He was left out of Real's squad for the 2-1 league defeat by Espanyol last Saturday but won over any fans who doubted him with an impressive display against Olympiakos in the Champions League yesterday.

Robinho scored twice in the 4-2 victory, won a penalty and set up the final goal.

''It has been a difficult week that has ended well, my team have won and I played well. Many of the things that have come out are not true but I give my response on the pitch,'' he told a news conference today.

''We (Robinho and Julio Baptista) had a complicated problem with the flights from Brazil. We knew we had to be back but we thought the game was on Sunday, not Saturday.'' Brazilian media made much of a post-match party in Rio de Janeiro after Brazil beat Ecuador 5-0 in a World Cup qualifier last Wednesday, and Real said they would open disciplinary proceedings against the two players for their late return.

''For going out, no (I am not apologising),'' said Robinho.

''In Brazil when we win some of us go out if we want to, if we lose we go home. For being late, yes (I apologise). I have spoken with coach Bernd Schuster and I hope it won't happen again. He only reproached us for being late,'' he added.

Real's next Primera Liga fixture at home to Deportivo Coruna has been rearranged from Saturday to Sunday at 1500 GMT as a result of the dispute over broadcasting rights between rival companies Sogecable and Mediapro.

REUTERS PDS PM2100

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