Because while AC Milan paid him quite well, with salaries estimated at almost 10 million euros a year, his frenetic lifestyle and enormous waste of money have left him almost ruined. It was only thanks to the strict management of his brother Roberto that Ronaldinho escaped total bankruptcy, as he had made several real estate investments in Brazil, where the footballer also had several residences. The two brothers will now return to Brazil to try to replenish the coffers, as Roberto has managed to get his brother into the Flamengo club, where he hopes to earn at least a little more money.
Although the Brazilian club may not have the stature of Barça or AC Milan, it can afford to pay Ronnie a good salary and at the same time restore the player’s reputation in his home country.
However, due to repeated salary delays, Ronaldinho was forced to settle for a paltry 116,000 euros a year when he signed with Atletico Mineiro, four times less than at Flamengo. One thing led to another, Ronaldinho ended up at obscure clubs in the Brazilian league and gradually disappeared from the media scene until he hit rock bottom, signing for two years at a little-known Mexican club, where he sat on the bench most of the time.
The former football star will live here and there, lending his image to small football and beach soccer tournaments. His conviction in 2015 by the courts of his country to a fine of 2.2 million euros for having a villa built in a protected area was like the knockout punch that revealed to the whole world the extent of the bankruptcy of this legendary player. In fact, when he opened his bank account to recover his debts, the Brazilian courts discovered that his account contained only a mere six-euro haul. Excluding the millions of euros earned in Europe during his glory days, Ronaldinho was, in effect, almost penniless, and even his precious property was confiscated by the state.
To make matters worse, the Brazilian Justice Department decided to withdraw the passports of the player and his brother, making it very difficult for them to make money by monetizing their image and presence at social events.
Deprived of passports, riddled with debt and consequently penniless, Ronaldinho falls apart and in early March 2020 decides to travel with his brother to Asunción, the capital of Paraguay, to promote his autobiography and attend a gala dinner. The opportunity to change his mind and, of course, to earn some money. But to make matters worse, just two days after their arrival, Ronaldinho and Roberto were arrested by the Paraguayan police and accused of using false passports. They are also suspected of much more serious crimes, such as money laundering and criminal conspiracy.
Given the extreme seriousness of these crimes, the Paraguayan judicial system even refused to release them on bail. As a result, Ronaldinho and his brother continue to languish in prison, in a country known for the extreme harshness of its prison system, with the threat of the looming COVID-19 pandemic that loves to spread in confined and overcrowded places.
A grave danger therefore hangs over the shoulders of the footballer and his brother, and although some of his former and rather influential teammates, such as Carlos Puyol or Albert Montagut, the director of communications for FC Barcelona, are willing to help him, the task is almost impossible given that for the moment Paraguay, like most countries in the world, has become completely isolated and no one can even visit it.
Bad luck seems to be on Ronaldinho’s side, as he is behind bars at the worst possible time, despite the fact that his fall has been going on for several years, largely due to his attraction to excesses of all kinds.
So, what do you think of the former Brazilian star’s tragic decline? Give us your opinion in the comments.