Ronaldinho Held In Paraguay Over Fake Passport Claims

Ronaldinho Held In Paraguay Over Fake Passport Claims

Felix Egbomuche

Felix Egbomuche

Barcelona and Brazil legend, Ronaldinho, has been arrested and detained in Paraguay after he allegedly entered the South American country with false documentation.

The 39-year-old was arrested along with his brother, Roberto, on Wednesday night, the Ministry of Interior of Paraguay has confirmed.

According to a report by La Nacion, passports which had the names of Ronaldinho and his brother, Roberto, with Paraguayan nationality were found in their hotel.

The 2002 World Cup winner with Brazil was caught with the passport in the Resort Yacht and Golf Club Paraguayo when a search was conducted.

Although the 39-year-old and his brother were allowed to stay at the hotel, they remain under investigation and must report to the prosecutor's office on Thursday.

Ronaldinho Held In Paraguay Over Fake Passport Claims
Ronaldinho being checked by Paraguayan Authourities

"I respect his sporting popularity but the law must also be respected. No matter who you are, the law still applies," minister Euclides Acevedo told local media.

A third man who travelled with the brothers - 45-year-old Wilmondes Sousa Lira - has also been held.

The public prosecutor's office, who along with the police collaborated in their investigation, said their cell phones and passports were seized.

"The authenticity of the documents is being checked as is the dates they were stamped," the Paraguayan public prosecutor's office said.

The former Gremio, Flamengo and Paris Saint-Germain forward who was crowned the World Footballer of the Year in 2004 and 2005 was expected to hold several public events.

He is said to have been invited to Paraguay by a local casino owner and had arrived on Wednesday.

Ronaldinho, who last played professionally in 2015, is currently without a Brazilian passport because of an environmental fine he received in 2018 after he and his brother were convicted of illegally building a fishing trap at Lake Guaiba in 2015 without proper licensing in a permanent preservation area.

Ronaldinho and his brother were fined $8.5 million (£6.5m) in November 2018 but when they failed to pay up, Brazil's Superior Court of Justice decided to stop Ronaldinho from being able to leave the country.

Happenings Media