Robinho welcomes Barcelona reports

MADRID - Manchester City's Brazilian forward Robinho would like to play for Barcelona but knows nothing about a loan deal reported in Spanish media.

"Of course I would like to play for Barca, who wouldn't? We could have a lot of fun," Robinho, 25, told Barcelona-based newspaper El Mundo Deportivo on Thursday.

"I have played against them and I know their quality. But at the moment I can only do it on my Playstation," he added.

According to reports in Spain, Robinho is set to join Pep Guardiola's European champions on loan in January and has asked City for permission to leave.

With Frenchman Thierry Henry out of sorts, Robinho could form a formidable forward line with Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Argentina's Lionel Messi.

El Mundo Deportivo said Henry was open to returning to England and could form part of a swap deal.

City assistant manager Mark Bowen said the club want to hold on to Robinho but made it clear he will have to fight for his place when he returns from injury.

The former Real Madrid forward has been sidelined since August with a stress fracture.

"Robi is one of those players who will always be surrounded by rumour and speculation," Bowen said on the club's website on Wednesday.

El Mundo Deportivo quoted Robinho as saying that he knew nothing about any deal with Barca.

"I assure you that as of this moment my father, who is my only representative, has not told me anything about Barca," he said.

"Out of respect for Manchester City, which is my team, it should be the two clubs that talk about my loan or transfer and then tell me," he added.