The former Brazil forward Ronaldinho is being questioned by authorities in Paraguay, after entering the South American country with what police said was an adulterated Paraguayan passport.
According to a police statement, Ronaldinho and his brother and business manager, Roberto de Assis, were both questioned by law enforcement officials in their hotel room on the outskirts of Asunción, shortly after arriving in the country on Wednesday.
Paraguayan prosecutor Federico Delfino told a news conference on Thursday that the pair left Guarulhos airport in São 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 process 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 public prosecutor’s office, who collaborated with the police in their investigation, said its officials seized the pair’s cell phones and passports during the hotel visit. Both men were allowed to remain overnight in their presidential suite, but returned to meet with the public prosecutor as requested on Thursday.
Ronaldinho, whose full name is Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, and his brother were invited to Paraguay by a local casino owner and had arrived on Wednesday to take part in a football clinic for children and a book launch.
The former Barcelona player won the Champions League in 2006. He was named Fifa world player of the year in 2004 and 2005, and also enjoyed spells at Milan and PSG. He last played professionally for Fluminense in 2015.