Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho has finally arrived in his home country after spending more than five months in detention in Paraguay over a fake passport scandal. Ronaldinho and brother Roberto Assis were found to have entered the country with fake passports.
The former Ballon D’Or winner arrived at Rio de Janeiro’s international airport at evening on Tuesday after a Paraguay court suspended charges against him and his brother on Monday following their plea bargain with prosecutors.
Under the terms of the plea bargain as laid in the sentence, Ronaldinho paid $90,000 fine and must report to a federal judge in Brazil every three months for two years. The footballer has reportedly agreed to the terms.
His brother Asis was directed to pay $110,000 and will not be allowed to leave Brazil over a two-year period.
Ronaldinho and Assis have been detained since early March for allegedly entering the South American country with fake passports.
Ronaldinho was earlier sentenced to a six-month term in prison. However, after 32 days in prison, he was shifted to a hotel in April where he was kept under house arrest.
The decision was taken due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus which has affected more than 100 people in Paraguay and killed five.
However, Ronaldinho’s lawyer had maintained the footballer was not deliberately trying to enter Paraguay with a fake passport and demanded he should be released by the authorities.
Ronaldinho, on his part, said the passports had been given him by people who had invited him to attend conferences sponsored by charities working with disadvantaged children. According to him, his documents were given by Brazilian businessman, Wilmondes Sousa Liria, who has been jailed.
Ronaldinho and Assis travelled to Paraguay on March 4 to participate in a children’s charity event and promote a new book. The pair were arrested later that day when authorities realised they had entered the country with fake passports.
Ronaldinho retired from football in 2018 after a career that included spells at Gremio, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Milan and Atletico Mineiro, among other clubs. He was a part of the Brazil team that won the 2002 World Cup and was twice voted the FIFA world player of the year.