Robinho refuses to rule out Santos return

The Brazil international began his career at Vila Belmiro before moving to Europe to join Real Madrid and says he retains "great affection" for the club's supporters.
Robinho has refused to rule out a return to Santos - even though he only signed a new deal with AC Milan in the summer.

The Brazil international penned a contract extension in July that binds him to the Rossoneri until 2016.

However, there has again been talk that Robinho could rejoin Santos, and the attacker freely admits that his love for the Brasileiro outfit remains undiminshed.

"It's the club where I grew up," the 29-year-old told Globoesporte. "I have great respect and affection for the fans. We'll see.

"I think it is difficult now, though, because I have a contract with Milan. But the future belongs to God."

Meanwhile, Robinho confessed that Milan cannot wait to put 2013 firmly behind it, given Sunday's derby defeat against Inter saw the Rossoneri go into Serie A's winter break 13th in the table, just five points above the relegation zone.

"Things have changed a lot," the former Manchester City man said. "We're not having a great year. Even though we have qualified for the next round of the Champions League, we have only a few points in the championship.

"There's still a long way to go, though, and we hope to improve in the future."

Milan will meet Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League and Robinho is well aware that Massimiliano Allegri's men face a tough task in reaching the quarterfinals at the expense of one of Europe's form teams.

"Spanish teams are always difficult to face and Atletico have a great team," he said. "The further you go, the more difficult the games become, but we're used to this.

"We must be careful because we will be facing a club with great strikers. We will have difficulties."