Ronaldinho and his brother have been arrested for entering Paraguay with fake passports. (Source: Twitter/footballtweet)
Former Brazilian football superstar Ronaldinho has been held by police in Paraguay on claims of having entered the country with a fake passport.
According to reports, Ronaldinho and his brother were interrogated after a police raid at a hotel in Asuncion led to a discovery of the 'fake passports'.
Ronaldinho has been banned from leaving the hotel until the investigation is completed.
Ronaldinho really tried to dupe Paraguayan customs officials into thinking he’s Paraguayan as if they didn’t already know who he was. 🐐 pic.twitter.com/20B7xRcYMt
— Des Norris (@PartidoPooper) March 5, 2020
The Paraguayan passport in his name - Ronaldinho de Assis Moreira - was issued on January 7 this year and stated he was Brazilian but described him as a naturalised Paraguayan.
In July 2019, Ronaldinho reportedly had his Brazilian and Spanish passports confiscated over unpaid taxes.
"Ronaldinho will be heard at eight in the morning on Thursday at the prosecutor's office," minister Euclides Acevedo told AFP.
"The documents are being analysed so their authenticity can be established. Two passports, a national ID document and mobile phones have been confiscated," the Paraguay State Prosecution Service said in a statement.
Ronaldinho, now 39, was in Paraguay to promote a book and to be part of a campaign for underprivileged children and had been contacted by the representative of a foundation called Fraternidad Angelical about participating in some charity events.
Later, Paraguay's interior minister told ESPN Brazil that the pair had not been arrested but are under investigation.
Ronaldinho and his brother have been arrested for entering Paraguay with fake passports.
His fake passport shows his correct name, birthplace, and birthdate, but it falsely suggests that he’s a naturalized Paragauay citizen. 🇵🇾😳 pic.twitter.com/x4qBTijJMQ
— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) March 5, 2020
Paraguayan prosecutor Federico Delfino told a news conference on Thursday that the pair left Guarulhos airport in Sao Paulo with Brazilian passports and were given Paraguayan ones "as soon as they got off the plane."
"Both Mr Ronaldinho and his brother said they were a gift," Delfino told reporters.
Initial investigations indicated the numbers on the passports corresponded to other people, Delfino added. "They have not gone through the processs of obtaining Paraguayan nationality," Delfino said. "To get Paraguayan nationality or to be naturalised as a Paraguayan you have to have resided in the country."
The former Gremio, Flamengo and Paris St Germain forward last played professionally in 2015. Ronaldinho, 39, was the best player in the world at his peak in the early part of this century.
He was named FIFA World Player of the year in 2004 and 2005 and won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 and the Champions League with Barcelona in 2006.