AGENCIES, Paraguay: Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho will spend his 40th birthday in a Paraguayan prison with the biggest challenge of his life — a six-month jail sentence for entering the country on a fake passport.
Ronaldo de Assis Moreira and his elder brother Roberto were detained at Asunción Airport on March 4 for attempting to enter Paraguay on false passports which they allegedly paid US$6,000 each to secure.
Ronaldo’s lawyer Adolfo Marín said: “He could have entered Paraguay with his Brazilian papers. He thought he had received special Paraguayan documents. He didn’t know he was committing a crime, because he didn’t understand he’d been given false documents. He’s stupid.”
While the official version of events was that Ronaldinho and his brother were in Paraguay to take part in commercial appearances, including a book launch, the businesswoman Dalia Lopez, who arranged the Paraguayan visit for the footballer is on the run to avoid a court appearances.
A judge has rejected pleas to release the duo from detention for fear of them fleeing the country.
Ronaldinho, the former PSG, Barcelona and Milan playmaker won the 2005 Ballon D’Or, the 2002 World Cup – after beating David Seaman with a famous free-kick – and the 2006 Champions League final against Arsenal.
He is arguably among the three best Brazilian players to follow Pele along with Ronaldo and Neymar. But Ronaldinho was the undisputed best at Samba-style partying.