Ronaldinho (39) is still in the Paraguayan prison, but that is not a drama for the Brazilian football legend. He’s in a comfortable cell. Tomorrow ‘Dinho’ will be brought to court together with his brother.
“He is doing very well,” said prison director Blas Vera at the Reuters news agency. “I see that he is cheerful: always smiling, just like you see him on television.” Nevertheless, Ronaldinho’s lawyers hope that their client will soon be placed under house arrest.
The former Brazilian international was arrested in Paraguay for trying to enter the country with a fake passport. The ex-player of FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, among others, and two-time world football player of the year was taken into custody together with his brother in the capital Asunción.
According to prison director Vera, Ronaldinho is in a healthy cell and has a TV and a fan at his disposal. Just like the right to use the terrace regularly. He must use a shared bathroom. Until now, his lawyers brought him food every day – he left the prison food.
The maximum occupied cells count 195 prisoners. This includes politicians and police officers, who are accused of corruption, just like some prominent drug dealers. The more dangerous prisoners are housed in a different wing than where Ronaldinho sits. Carlos Gamarra, the former captain of the national team of Paraguay who also played for various Brazilian clubs, visited Ronaldinho on Sunday with a group of former football players.
Ronaldinho, appointed last year by the right-wing government of Brazil as a tourism ambassador, had traveled to Paraguay on Wednesday to promote a book. When the police searched the hotel room where he and his brother Roberto were staying, they found the fake passports. An investigating judge decided to hold the 2005 Golden Ball.
Ronaldinho had to hand in his passport at the end of 2018. That was taken away by the Brazilian court at the time because he had a fine of 2.25 million euros still open after a conviction for a severe building violation in a protected nature area. According to his lawyer, Ronaldinho did not know that he had received a fake passport.