The renowned Brazilian footballer legend, Ronaldinho Gaucho, has been reportedly detained in Paraguay after he allegedly used false documentation to travel out of Brazil.
The 39-year-old made an impact on the footballing world with his fleet foot, dancing legs, and magical dribbles. He also won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 and offered world-class performances during his time at Barcelona and AC Milan in the prime of his career.
According to the Ministry of Interior of Paraguay, the football legend was detained in the Resort Yacht & Golf Club Paraguayo along with his brother Roberto on Wednesday night, their passports were found in the hotel bearing the names of Ronaldinho and Roberto with Paraguayan nationality.
An official statement from the Paraguayan police confirmed that Ronaldinho and his entourage had been invited to Paraguay by casino owner Nelson Belotti. The Brazilian international was expected to hold several public events as the media were invited to witness his interaction with fans and dignitaries.
But, Ronaldinho is currently without a Brazilian passport because of an environmental fine he received in 2018. The former Barcelona star was convicted alongside his brother, Roberto for illegally building a fishing trap at Lake Guaiba in 2015 without proper licensing in a permanent preservation area.
Following the charges, Ronaldinho and his brother were fined $8.5 million in November 2018. However, they failed to pay up, prompting Brazil's Superior Court of Justice to revoke Ronaldinho’s international passport, which means he won't be able to leave the country.
Despite being unable to leave Brazil, Ronaldinho was still unveiled as one of Brazil’s new ambassadors for tourism in September 2019.
It remains to be seen if the former samba footballer will be pardoned or deported back to Brazil.