FC Barcelona legend Ronaldinho Gaucho has been released from a maximum-security prison in Paraguay.

Held captive in Asuncion for over a month, since being found in possession of false passports, the Brazilian and his brother Roberto Assis were transferred to house arrest following a court hearing on Tuesday afternoon in the South American country’s capital.

Reporting for Globoesporte, Martin Fernandez revealed how bail of $1.6mn was paid by the pair, who will now stay in a $64 a night hotel two miles from where they were incarcerated.

 

Celebrating his 40th birthday behind bars, the 2002 World Cup winner became popular among inmates and apparently took part in a futsal tournament.

His team awarded a 15kg suckling pig for their 11-2 win, there were conflicting accounts over how many goals and assists the Brazilian racked up.

Some having it down as five and six in each facet respectively, others contested that his involvement in the match wasn’t as dominant or that the competition never even took place.

Around this time, the brothers had their third appeal for a transfer to house arrest turned down, as it was again deemed that they posed a flight risk and also took into account that Brazil does also not extradite its citizens.

Protests from the neighboring land’s Minister of Justice and Public Security Sergio Moro falling on deaf ears, it was believed that the suspects could face at least six months in prison before facing trial prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 further complicating matters.

Three weeks later, the Assis siblings are free, in a fashion, but how Ronaldinho’s relationship with his former Catalan employers progresses is unknown.

Tipped for a return to the Blaugrana in an official capacity later this year, while a Barça legends testimonial was penciled in for August, SPORT’s Albert Masnou claimed that ties had again been cut between the two parties as “having an inmate as an ambassador” was not viewed as “the best advertising campaign” a club of such standing could have.

Their alliance previously put on ice due to the support shown for far-right president Jair Bolsonaro during his election campaign, there was a November 2019 burying of the hatchet ahead of Ronaldinho’s early-March arrest.

Authorities worldwide now aware that he is not allowed access to a Brazilian passport, and has attempted to use counterfeit alternatives in the past, entry to Spain to take part in club events moving forward would be complicated in any case for Ronaldinho, who must now attempt to clear his name and get his life back on track.

 

Source: Forbes.com

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