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Santos confirmed that it was unable to match some of the offers the 31-year-old veteran had received from international clubs, although it stopped short of naming Evergrande, which is now managed by former Brazil manager Luis Felipe Scolari.

"I want to thank club directors for trying hard to make it possible for me to stay so everybody could be happy," Robinho said.

"Unfortunately it won't be possible to renew the contract, but Santos will always remain in my heart.

"I'm upset because this is like my family, but life goes on. Santos will remain big and I will try to be happy doing what I like the most, which is playing football."

The former Real Madrid, Manchester City and AC Milan player was reportedly the being offered 12 million euros ($13.3 million) per year by the Chinese Super League club, but Guangzhou denied that a deal had been agreed with a player that has been capped 99 times by the Selecao.

"There is no such thing," club spokesman Wang Yunhao told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Guangzhou has been on a spending spree since being purchased by Chinese real-estate group Evergrande in 2010.

They have had a trio of World Cup-winners at the helm in recent times – Fabio Cannavaro, Marcello Lippi and Scolari – and have spent a substantial amount of money on acquiring the services of players like Brazil international Ricardo Goulart and Argentinian Dario Conca.

Guangzhou became the first Chinese team to win the Asian Champions League in 2013.

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