Immigration officials in Paraguay have arrested former Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho Gaucho for allegedly using a fake passports to enter the South American country. The former Barcelona has been embroiled in a series of scandals for the past two years both at home and abroad.
According to the Ministry of Interior of Paraguay, the Brazilan legend and his brother Roberto were arrested and locked up in the Resort Yacht & Golf Club Paraguayo on Wednesday night.
A Paraguayan newspaper La Nacion claims that Ronaldinho and his brother were in possession of fake passports in their hotel rooms bearing their names with Paraguayan nationality. The report added that the duo were detained in their hotel room as the Paraguayan authorities continue their investigation to know how Ronaldinho and his brother got the fake documents.
It is understood that the Paraguayan police in an official statement on Wednesday evening said that the World Cup winner and his entourage were invited to the country by casino owner Nelson Belotti for a series of events.
The 39-year-old was scheduled to meet with his fans and dignitaries in several publicity events with the media invited to witness the interactions. The Paraguayan authorities have yet to release a statement as at the time of filing this report on Thursday morning.
Recall that Ronaldinho and his brother were convicted of contravening environmental laws in Brazil in November 2018. The duo were fined $8.5 million and Ronaldinho’s Brazilian passport was seized by Brazil’s Superior Court of Justice for illegally building a fishing trap at Lake Guaiba in 2015 without proper licensing in a permanent preservation area.
The court thereafter decided to stop Ronaldinho from being able to leave the country after failing to pay the fine with a stipulated time. The former footballer was unveiled as one of Brazil’s new ambassadors for tourism in September last year despite not being able to travel out of the country.
Speaking during his unveiling as an ambassador, the former AC Milan star said he agreed to become a tourism ambassador and promote Brazil’s tourism because he wanted to help Brazil generate jobs and regain its image internationally.
“Tourism is very important for generating jobs and regaining our image internationally,” Ronaldinho said.
The 39-year-old is regarded as one of the best footballers in the world, having played Barcelona, AC Milan, and Flamengo in Brazil. He also won the Champions League, La Liga, Serie A, and Copa Libertadores with three clubs.
He also won some individual honors including the 2005 Ballon d’Or, the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005. The Brazilan legend also lifted the Copa America with his nation in 1999 and won the Jules Rimet trophy in South Korea and Japan in 2002 World Cup.