Benavente leaves Dons by mutual consent

Cristian Benavente
Cristian Benavente

Cristian Benavente’s time at MK Dons has come to an end just five months after signing from Read Madrid Castilla.

The Peruvian international has played just 252 minutes since joining in the summer having struggled to adapt to the English game.

Robinson tried in vain to find the 21-year-old a loan deal in League 1 and 2 but with no takers, had to admit defeat.

“He is probably four months away from having an impact on English football,” said the Dons boss.

“I asked David Moyes about integrating Spanish players into the English style and he said it would take them at least 12 months. And that makes it difficult for us to have those sorts of players.

“They were supposed to go out on loan but no-one in England would take them because they haven’t played here before.

“The jump going from where they were to the Championship was far too great. We wanted it to be a smooth transition.

“But when you can’t get them a loan in England, the jump is nearly impossible.

“The timeline didn’t match up.”

Benavente signed to be part of a development programme ready to peak next season.

But with Dons finding the jump to the Championship harder than anticipated, Robinson admitted the project has had to take a back seat as he concentrates on keeping Dons out of the relegation zone.

He added: “It was an option for future years, as a development process.

“Cristian is an incredibly talented player, the things he can do in training is phenomenal.

“But we’re about the here and now and we have to get that right.

“With Cristian going and being given the chance to play somewhere else, it’ll give us the chance to strengthen our starting 11.

“In the summer, we felt we could have a small development group to push and we didn’t expect the transition to be as difficult as it has been.

“We’ve learned a lot of lessons from it and it is something we’ll do again. We’ll know how the process works.”