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Ronaldinho, brother arrested in Paraguay after alleged use of fake passports

Ronaldinho and his brother allegedly entered Paraguay on Wednesday using fake passports. (AP/Jorge Saenz)

Former Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho and his brother were arrested in Asuncion, Paraguay, on Friday after they allegedly entered the country using fake passports, according to the AFP

Ronaldinho and his brother, Roberto de Assis Moreira, arrived in Asuncion on Wednesday after being invited to promote his new book and take part in a youth soccer clinic. The two displayed fake passports at the airport, despite the fact that Brazilians do not need passports to enter Paraguay, and officials later detained them at their hotel after determining that the numbers on the passports corresponded to other people. 

The brothers said the passports were a gift they received upon arrival in Paraguay, according to ESPN, but the two “could not explain” why they showed the Paraguayan passports when they had recently used their Brazilian passports to travel to China, Europe and the United States. 

Prosecutor Federico Delfino said on Thursday that the two recognized they had committed a crime but did so unwittingly, and asked a judge to consider an alternative punishment. A judge, however, declined that proposal on Friday and sent the case back to the attorney general’s office, which prompted their arrest just hours before they were set to leave the country.

Per ESPN, the two are expected to face a judge on Saturday.

Ronaldinho, a two-time FIFA World Player of the Year, helped lead Brazil to its most recent World Cup title in 2002 and Barcelona to the Champions League crown in 2006. The 39-year-old officially retired in 2015.

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