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Five times Ronaldinho made headlines off the pitch


Five times Ronaldinho made headlines off the pitch

Five times Ronaldinho made headlines off the pitch

Bird. Porridge. Hard time. Whatever you want to call it, a stay at a correctional facility is no joke. And while many of us are experiencing a form of lockdown at this current moment, no matter how stifled you might be feeling, it’s fair to say things could be a lot worse.

With Brazilian legend Ronaldinho currently banged up in a Paraguayan prison cell for attempting to use a false passport, we thought we’d take a look back at the buck-toothed genius’s chequered past. When he wasn’t tearing it up on the football pitch, it’s fair to say Ronnie got up to all sorts of hare-brained hi-jinks…

In the course of a career that has seen the player score goals of such magnificence that supporters of his fiercest rivals have felt moved to give the man a standing ovation, at his best Ronaldinho was a true genius on the field.

But the Ballon d’Or winner didn’t always display quite such a desire to impress. There was his well-documented preference to party, rather than focusing on his fitness, for instance. Toward the end of Ronaldinho’s career, when he played for Mexican club Queretaro in 2015, one club insider said “he does not do physical exercise – I cannot make him run because he doesn’t like it. There are many things he doesn’t like.”

More bewilderingly, he once signed a multi-million pound sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola – then turned up at a press conference, sipping from a can of Pepsi. Coke quickly scrapped the sponsorship deal.

Still, that’s all fairly small potatoes compared to some of the player’s most ill-advised antics…

Training day

Ronaldinho is well known for his love of the party lifestyle. On one occasion during his time at Milan, he was spotted out late, enjoying a Latin music festival with teammate, goalkeeper Dida.

As midnight came and went and the two continued to carouse (and sign autographs), supporters of the club eventually became so aggrieved that they started shouting at the two players, insisting they leave in order to make it to training the next day. Ronaldinho just laughed, of course.

But even in his younger days, Ronnie took a relaxed attitude to professionalism. Paris Saint-Germain teammate Jerome Leroy recalls the Brazilian’s typical routine when he would turn up for training the day after a night out.

“He’d come in with sunglasses on, go and get changed… and then head straight to the massage table to sleep.”

‘Dinho dollars

In 2018 Ronaldinho opted to throw his name behind a new form of cryptocurrency – named, with a refreshing lack of modesty, after the player himself.

The Ronaldinho Soccer Coin was launched by a company known as World Soccer Coin, who promised that they would “build digital stadiums” with the money they raised from their endeavours – but that was just the start. Investors could also get excited about something called the Ronaldinho Super League. Although 18 months on from the launch of the currency, we can’t find any more info about this particular enterprise.

In all honesty, Ronaldinho’s willingness to lend his name and likeness to companies reminds us a little of Krusty the Clown, famous for his line “I heartily endorse this event or product”. Still, perhaps the Ronaldinho coin is just biding its time, waiting for the right moment to come and establish itself as the pre-eminent currency of the 21st century.

Party hotline

During his time at Flamengo, Ronaldinho’s love of the good life really got out of hand – to the extent that the club attempted to solve the problem by running a hotline tasked with preventing the player from partying too hard.

Anyone who spotted the Brazilian ace out and about when he should have been tucked up in bed was encouraged to alert the club via the hotline. Called, unflatteringly, Disque-Dentuço – it means call-goofy – the phone line initially proved a big hit, with Ronaldinho knuckling down, and starting to score again on the pitch. At least for a while.

Booed by his own fans at Fluminense

Ronaldinho might seem to be a man who can always raise a smile in others, but he didn’t make the supporters particularly happy during a underwhelming three-month stint at Fluminense back in 2015.

Ronnie made just nine appearances during his time at the Brazilian club, and mustered neither a goal nor an assist, with fans booing the out-of-sorts player toward the end of his time with the club. Ronaldinho would leave the club 12th in the league, although an official statement from Fluminense suggested that they weren’t altogether unhappy with what they’d got out of the deal:

“This hiring met all expectations with regarding to marketing returns, increasing ticket and shirt sales for the club as well as attracting a number of partners.” Just what the fans wanted to hear, I’m sure…

Ronaldinho the rapper

But Ronaldinho isn’t all about skipping training, romancing ladies, and signing dubious financial deals left right and centre. Nope, Ronaldinho was also an aspiring musician – as his collaboration with Dennis DJ proves.

Okay, so he’s not exactly Schoolboy Q – but check it out below, 36 million views and counting can’t all be wrong, can they?! Don’t answer that.

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