By Louis Smith.
Most sporting events have now been suspended in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but one storyline involving a football icon is taking place behind closed doors in Paraguay.
Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho is currently behind bars along with his brother Roberto de Assis Moreira for committing fraud after trying to get into the country with a fake passport. Despite this being something Brazilians don’t even need to enter Paraguay, Ronaldinho is facing up to six months in prison for using those fake documents.
Ronaldinho and Roberto were arrested on March 6 after it was found that the document numbers on the passport they were using belonged to two Paraguayan citizens.
The reason the former Barcelona man travelled to Paraguay was to take part in four charity events, one organised by businesswoman Dalia Lopez, who helped the brothers obtain the fake passports.
Ronaldinho’s Brazilian passport has been confiscated by Brazilian law enforcers after he ran into trouble for building on land without permission in his hometown of Porto Alegre.
Since the pair were arrested in Paraguay, Lopez cannot be found by the Paraguayan authorities and neither Ronaldinho or Roberto have come forward with a reason as to why they attempted to use a Paraguayan passport rather than their Brazilian ID card, which would have been the legal way to get into the country.
The pair had appealed to be under house arrest, but this was shot down by the Paraguayan justice team as they believed the Brazilians would use the opportunity to flee back to Brazil to avoid any charges.
This meant that the World Cup winner is now a prisoner in Asuncion, which might be seen as a fall from grace, but it’s not all doom and gloom.
The twice World Player of the Year was reported to be struggling with prison life at first, but in more recent days he’s become more settled. This will have been helped by his participation in a prison futsal match, after which it was rumoured that the winner would received a 36kg suckling pig, but reports revealed this was a fabrication meaning he didn’t get the chance to add to his impressive trophy collection.
Dinho leyenda. Inalcanzable. pic.twitter.com/lX6CGyUXtV
— En Una Baldosa (@enunabaldosa) March 14, 2020
He did, though, manage to play some football.
As might be expected, Ronaldinho played a big part in the game, helping his side to victory. He scored five goals and assisted six in an 11-2 victory.
Videos emerged of him showboating and showing off his talent, and all of this only became possible once he was lent a pair of boots by a generous prison guard.
Whilst the world is in turmoil, Ronaldinho has been filmed showboating during a prison game in Paraguay… Get this on Sky Sports! pic.twitter.com/doktzfSSs6
— Football FanCast (@FootballFanCast) March 17, 2020
Ronaldinho grew up playing and mastering futsal on the streets of Porto Alegre, so it’s no surprise that the prisoners were no match for him.
Despite being jailed, Ronaldinho is still managing to keep a smile on his face, taking everything in his stride as he spends his 40th birthday in the Asuncion prison.