Ronaldinho inspires many; learns carpentry in Paraguayan prison

ASUNCION-(MaraviPost)-After playing in an in-house football tournament and scoring five with six assist in 11:2 win, ESPN says Ronaldinho is now doing woodwork with other inmates

For Ronaldinho, what was supposed to be a quick jaunt to Paraguay for a charity event has turned into an extended stay at a maximum-security prison.

The Brazilian legend and his brother, Roberto Assis (who is also his business manager), entered the country on March 4 with falsified passports, even though residents of Brazil do not need passports to enter their landlocked neighbour.

Although not initially arrested, they were told to remain in their hotel suite in Asuncion while authorities investigated the matter.

Two days later they were in jail, with a judge denying them bail and refusing to release them into house arrest, saying the brothers posed a flight risk.

Ronaldinho’s presence in prison, with wild reports of playing soccer tournaments for the prize of a suckling pig, has made for one of the sport’s more curious stories in 2020.

The 39-year-old, who played for Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and AC Milan in Europe, is not your average prisoner.

Winner of two league titles for Barcelona and a UEFA Champions League, in addition to the 1999 Copa America and 2002 World Cup with Brazil, Ronaldinho is regarded as one of the all-time great players, something confirmed by his 2005 Ballon d’Or trophy.

Sources have told ESPN that he’s “loved” by his fellow inmates. Though he spends most of his time in a cell at the penitentiary centre, his daily activities are divided between playing football with the inmates and the employees, as well as attending a carpentry course.

Sources added that Ronaldinho, who will turn 40 on Saturday, is “relaxed” in prison, although he’s missing one of the main pillars of his life: music. A lot of his time in retirement has been spent playing the bongo drums.

“He can’t play any instruments inside but I am sure that in his head he will keep on coming up with melodies for compositions when he’s out,” a source close to the player 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.”

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