Three-way relationships, unpaid debts & ‘fake passport’ fiascos: Brazilian playboy Ronaldinho has never been far from scandal
The news that Brazilian icon Ronaldinho is under investigation in Paraguay over allegedly entering the country using fake documents is just the latest scandal to hit one of the world’s great footballing playboys.
Ronaldinho, 39, is being probed after police searched the luxury hotel he is staying at with his brother in Paraguayan capital Asuncion.
The pair are under suspicion of entering the country with “altered” passports, but insist they are innocent of any wrongdoing and are said to be cooperating with officials.Also on rt.com Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho caught in Paraguay with FAKE passport (PHOTOS)
However, they have been barred from leaving the country and will be required to give testimony on Thursday.
A Brazilian businessman they were travelling with is suspected of providing the documents and is the only one of the trio to have been arrested thus far.
Ronaldinho had arrived in the country to do work for a charity for underprivileged children, as well as promote his book, ‘Genio de la Vida’ (Genius of Life).
Instead, the former Ballon d’Or winner now finds himself making headlines again for all the wrong reasons, with the Brazilian footballing genius never far from scandal throughout his career.
Paris Party Boy
Universally recognized as one of the most skillful players ever to have a ball at his feet, Ronaldinho first emerged onto the European stage after making the switch from Gremio in his homeland to Paris Saint-Germain in 2001.
Young and incredibly gifted, Ronaldinho apparently did not let his profession get in the way of his fondness for the Parisian nightlife, according to one former teammate.
“Ronaldinho didn't train any day of the week and would just turn up on a Friday for the game on Saturday," former PSG midfielder Jerome Leroy has recalled.
While that might be stretching the bounds of credibility, the budding Brazilian megastar was already garnering a party boy reputation in the best traditions of compatriots such as Romario.
Bad Messi Influence
Ronaldinho hit even greater heights on the pitch by winning the World Cup with Brazil in 2002, scoring a memorable quarter-final goal against England along the way.
The Brazilian joined Barcelona from PSG in 2003, arriving at a club with a stature to match his own increasing reputation as the world’s best player.
Ronaldinho proceeded to dazzle on the pitch, being named FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005, also picking up the Ballon d’Or in 2005 and helping Barca to the 2006 Champions League title.
But as an emerging young superstar named Lionel Messi arrived on the scene, Ronaldinho’s reluctance to ditch his party ways is widely reported as being behind the buck-toothed Brazilian’s Nou Camp exit.
According to former teammate Alexander Hleb, Ronaldinho and midfielder Deco would turn up to training “drunk” – and there were fears that they could lead Messi astray.
"Ronaldinho and Deco came to training drunk. That's why Ronaldinho and Deco were sold in 2008. Because they were afraid that they would bring down Lionel Messi," Hleb has said.Also on rt.com 'Leo has everything, he didn't need anything from me' – Ronaldinho on Lionel Messi
After five seasons in Spain, Ronaldinho left for AC Milan in 2008 as new Barca boss Pep Guardiola saw no place for him in his project.
Still loath to ditch his hedonistic habits, Ronaldinho is remembered as sampling the Milan nightlife just as vigorously as he did back at Barca.
In November of 2010 he was caught leaving a Milan bar at 2am in the days leading up to the Milan derby, seemingly sealing his fate with manager Massimiliano Allegri, who left him on the bench.
“It’s the not the hour for an athlete to still be awake,” Allegri would later say.
The Brazilian lothario was shipped off to Flamengo in his homeland in January of 2011, and although entering the twilight of his career he showed no sign of seeing his powers wane off it, reportedly even demanding a clause inserted in his contract that allowed him to go out partying twice a week.
Dinho doubles up
The man nicknamed ‘Dinho’ officially hung up his boots early in 2018 after further spells at Atletico Mineiro and Fluminense in his homeland and Queretaro in Mexico.
But even since then the Brazilian playboy has never been far from the headlines for non-footballing reasons.
Later that year it was reported had continued his scoring streak and was set to marry TWO women – Priscilla Coelho and Beatriz Souza – after inviting the pair to move in with him at his at his $7 Rio mansion.
The footballer denied the reports and later split with Priscilla, and remains unmarried.
Debt woes and passport fiascos
Ronaldinho remains one of football's most popular icons and is estimated to be worth in excess of $100 million – still raking in substantial sums from sponsorships and paid posts on Instagram, where he has an army of 51 million followers.
Nonetheless that hasn’t stopped him from being linked to reports of unpaid debts.
In the summer of last year he had dozens of properties taken under the control of the authorities in Brazil while also having his Brazilian and Spanish passports confiscated over an unpaid fine and debts.Also on rt.com Ronaldinho has 57 properties seized, passports confiscated over unpaid fine & debts – reports
There were also claims that during the investigation – which centered on unpaid fines over an illegal construction in a preservation area at a property in his homeland – officials found just $7 in the star's bank account.
It was reported in September that he had paid a fine of around $1.5 million to get his Brazilian passport back – although the fun-loving footballing megastar has now been hit with the fresh passport problems amid allegations he entered Paraguay with fake documents.
We await the next chapter in the unfailingly eventful life of one of football's most colorful characters.