BRAZIL legend Ronaldinho is one of the all-time greats – but somehow he was recently sent to prison.
The Samba sensation never failed to be entertaining for both club and country, retiring in 2018 after a glittering career which featured Copa America, Champions League and World Cup titles.
But since hanging up his boots, Ronaldinho has struggled to settle into post-football life and recently found himself locked in a Paraguayan prison.
Why was Ronaldinho in prison?
OUTSIDE of the beautiful game, Ronaldinho is known for his party lifestyle and beaming grin.
In July 2019, over 50 of his properties were seized – along with his Brazilian and Spanish passports – because of unpaid taxes and fines dating back almost a decade.
According to The Athletic, when prosecutors went through his finances, they found just BRL24 – less than £10 – in his bank account.
On March 6 this year, Ronaldinho and his brother were held in Paraguay on suspicion of entering the country with a false passport.
Both he and his 49-year-old sibling Roberto deny entering the country with doctored documents.
Ronaldinho spent his 40th birthday behind bars, although he did get to celebrate with a huge BBQ.
Unsurprisingly, the Samba star continues to play football alongside fellow prisoners and officers – and has even dabbled in carpentry.
Ronaldinho the party animal
THE latest blow for Ronaldinho means only a miracle will spare him the sadness of his most low-key celebration since he made a name for himself as one of the world’s best-ever footballers.
Party animal Ronaldinho, being held at a prison on the outskirts of the Paraguayan capital Asuncion with his brother Roberto after allegedly entering the South American country with an adulterated passport, became famed for his extravagant birthday bashes.
He celebrated his 26th birthday with a party at Barcelona nightclub Sol which went on till 6am when he left in a Hummer.
He marked his 32nd birthday with a five-day party at a luxury hotel in Rio de Janeiro which reportedly cost him more than £11,000.
Legend Pele was among stars and fans to send him birthday greetings last year, with his fellow Brazilian sharing a photo of him with his arms round Ronaldinho alongside the message: “Whenever I see Ronaldinho he always has a smile on his face. Happy birthday my friend.”
The Ballon d’Or and two-times World Player of the Year, who confirmed his retirement in January 2018 through his brother, did not always need the excuse of a birthday to paint the town red.
He was accused of enjoying three nights of partying at a Milan hotel in January 2010 before a painful derby defeat against Serie A rivals Inter. Ronaldinho missed a penalty during a drab display.
When was he released?
RONALDINHO was released from prison on Tuesday April 8.
The Brazilian great and his brother were initially denied bail and potentially faced up to six months inside.
His appeal against a judge’s decision to swap his jail remand for house arrest was knocked back, while his defence was dealt a blow when a businesswoman who fixed his trip to Paraguay failed to show up in court.
A source told ESPN: “He plays football every day and teaches the guys he plays with a few tricks.
“From the very first moment he wanted to make sure he integrated with the other inmates and he quickly managed to do that.
“He’s an idol for many of them and they have asked for him to sign hats, shirts and trainers.”
While Nelson Cuevas, who used to play for Argentine giants River Plate recently visited Ronaldinho in his cell and told CNN Radio: “Ronaldinho is not happy at all.
“What distinguishes him is his smile, his good energy, his way of being but today.
“Due to the situation he is going through, that smile is lost because he is in prison which is a place he is not accustomed to.”
However, Ronaldinho and his brother have now been released from prison and placed under house arrest at the Hotel Palmaroga, in Paraguayan capital city, Asuncion, after reportedly paying a £1.3million bond.