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Virgil van Dijk recently called Ronaldinho (centre) the greatest player of all time

He married two wives, had his passport confiscated, was left with £5 in his bank account and his brother raided the club shop at Flamengo… but Brazil star Ronaldinho is still loving life in his own unique style

  • Ronaldinho was perhaps the victim of having won too much, too young
  • He was a Brazil international and Copa America winner before crossing Atlantic 
  • The ex-Brazil international’s older brother Roberto handled his business affairs
  • Roberto’s career was cut short due to injuries, little Ronald’s blossomed
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Officially announcing his retirement at the start of 2018, the tributes naturally poured in to one of the 21st century’s most gifted talents. Naturally too, Ronaldinho’s life off the pitch, always a source of fascination and often admiration, has been under a more intense microscope ever since calling it a day.

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Dubbed a hero by some and a sexist by others for the arrangement, he made headlines for reportedly marrying two wives. At the end of 2018 however, the high achieved by participating in the Russia 2018 opening ceremony was quickly snubbed out as his personal life began to unravel further.

It was around the time Barcelona distanced themselves from both Ronaldinho and Rivaldo for publicly-supporting controversial president Jair Bolsonaro. For building on a preserved area without permission back in 2015, Ronaldinho promptly had his passport confiscated by Brazilian authorities and was slapped with a fine of around £1.5m.

Virgil van Dijk recently called Ronaldinho (centre) the greatest player of all time

Virgil van Dijk recently called Ronaldinho (centre) the greatest player of all time

Ronaldinho's career blossomed at Gremio as his brother's career was cut short due to injuries

Ronaldinho's career blossomed at Gremio as his brother's career was cut short due to injuries

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Ronaldinho’s career blossomed at Gremio as his brother’s career was cut short due to injuries

A thorough search of his bank accounts revealing a balance of just over £5, speculation grew that the former star sponsored by big names such as Nike and Pepsi for the duration of his glittering career had spent up.

Priscila Coelho, one of the two wives, who gave up her studies and profession to reside with him, then left Ronaldinho citing aggression and opened a legal case to take one third of his earnings from 2012 to 2018 after the pair failed to reach a separation agreement in private.

More property-related trouble followed this summer. The fine now having a further 1 million reais (£200,000) slapped on it, courts in the south of Brazil have forbidden the midfielder from selling 57 houses and apartments from his portfolio to make amends. Simultaneously, creditors have also launched their own separate action to recuperate an additional £2,000,000 in other debts.

It was Ronaldinho's older brother Roberto, who handled his business affairs during his career

It was Ronaldinho's older brother Roberto, who handled his business affairs during his career

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It was Ronaldinho’s older brother Roberto, who handled his business affairs during his career

Barcelona famously beat Manchester United to the Brazil international's signature in 2003

Barcelona famously beat Manchester United to the Brazil international's signature in 2003

Barcelona famously beat Manchester United to the Brazil international’s signature in 2003

Passport apparently still out of grasp, his lawyer has denied that his client’s assets are currently under restriction whenever broached for comment on the matter by international and domestic press.

Despite all this, though, Ronaldinho trudges on in the same carefree manner he did on the pitch – that iconic, goofy smile stretched permanently across his face unmistakable and recognisable to all.

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Not once expressing an interest in becoming a coach or a director of football, as many of his peers from a golden generation of Brazilian legends are now, he lives permanently in Rio de Janeiro where better weather and beaches are offered to him than in the Baltic south.

Filling his days with samba and living the good life, he is now an ambassador for Teqball, a football-based form of table tennis, and still able to demand up to £120,000 per sponsored Instagram post.

As far as Ronaldinho is concerned, that’s no bad way to see out your post-playing days. 

Ronaldinho would deliver the Rossoneri their ultimate Serie A crown in 2010-2011

Ronaldinho would deliver the Rossoneri their ultimate Serie A crown in 2010-2011

Ronaldinho would deliver the Rossoneri their ultimate Serie A crown in 2010-2011

Ronaldinho (right), who is having financial trouble, speaks alongside his brother Roberto (left)
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Ronaldinho (right), who is having financial trouble, speaks alongside his brother Roberto (left)

Ronaldinho (right), who is having financial trouble, speaks alongside his brother Roberto (left)