Ronaldinho free to return to Brazil after agreeing guilty plea over fake passport charge in Paraguay

Ronaldinho Passport splitGetty Images

Ronaldinho is free to return home to Brazil after five months living under house arrest in Paraguay with his brother, Roberto Assis.

The pair were arrested in Paraguay in early March after using false passports to enter the country.

In April, they were released from prison after lawyers posted a $1.6 million (£1.3m) bail on their behalf, and they were placed under house arrest in a hotel in Asuncion to await trial.

The pair had faced up to five years behind bars if convicted.

Both brothers have pleaded guilty to entering the country with fake passports as part of the agreement. Ronaldinho has paid a fine of $90,000, while Assis has been fined $110,000.

While Assis will now have a criminal record in Paraguay, Ronaldinho will not.

Assis is not permitted to leave Brazil for two years, and must periodically present himself to Brazilian authorities in Rio de Janeiro during that 24-month span.

The former Barcelona, AC Milan and PSG star is now free to return to Brazil and reports claim that he can leave at any time if he makes officials aware of how long he will be out of the country.

Ronaldinho and Assis were initially detained after producing the fake documents having travelled to Paraguay to take part in a number of promotional events.

They spent 32 days in the maximum security Agrupacion Especializada prison after being arrested at the Resort Yacht and Golf Club Paraguay.

Ronaldinho said during a televised interview in late April that he and his brother has not realised their passports were not legal at the time.

He told Paraguayan network ABC Color: “We were totally surprised to learn that the documents were not legal. Since then our intention has been to collaborate with the justice system to clarify the facts.

“From that moment until today, we have explained everything and facilitated everything that has been requested of us.

“It was a hard blow, I never imagined that I would go through such a situation. All my life I have sought to reach the highest professional level and bring joy to people with my football.”

Videos of Ronaldinho taking part in a series of prison football matches went viral at the time, but friends and family spoke of the toll the experience had taken on the 40-year-old.

“Ronaldinho is not happy at all," former Paraguay international Nelson Cuevas told CNN Radio in March after visiting his friend in prison.

"What distinguishes him is his smile, his good energy, his way of being but today, due to the situation he is going through, that smile is lost because he is in prison which is a place he is not accustomed to.”