Ronaldinho would never have envisaged that he’d be spending his 40th birthday behind bars.
But that was the sad reality for the Brazilian football legend on Saturday.
Ronaldinho is currently in a prison in Asuncion after entering Paraguay with a fake passport. He has been detained for over two weeks now and could spend a further six months in custody, according to reports.
However, while Ronaldinho would obviously love nothing more than to be free right now, he doesn’t seem to be doing too badly in prison.
He took part in a futsal tournament with fellow inmates last weekend and stole the show with a masterclass in the final, scoring five goals and assisting the other six in an 11-2 victory.
And for his birthday on Saturday, the 2005 Ballon d’Or winner was treated to a barbecue.
Per the Evening Standard, inmates organised a barbecue for the football hero in order to keep him in good spirits.
And here’s a photo of Ronaldinho enjoying said barbecue.
It’s great to see him still smiling.
ESPN, meanwhile, have obtained more information about Ronaldinho’s time behind bars.
Sources have told the website that he’s “loved” by his fellow inmates, which isn’t that surprising. Who doesn’t love Ronaldinho?
He spends most of his time in a cell at the penitentiary centre, but his daily activities include playing football with inmates and employees (of course), as well as attending a carpentry course.
Yep, Ronaldinho is putting his newly-acquired free time to good use by learning a trade.
The report adds that the Brazilian is “relaxed” in prison, although he’s missing one of his biggest loves: music.
"He can't play any instruments inside but I am sure that in his head he will keep on coming up with melodies for compositions when he's out," a source close to the player told ESPN. "He plays football every day and teaches the guys he plays with a few tricks. From the very first moment he wanted to make sure he integrated with the other inmates and he quickly managed to do that. He's an idol for many of them and they have asked for him to sign hats, shirts and trainers."
The prison’s director, Blas Vera, has revealed that Ronaldinho and his brother (who is also in the prison for the same reasons) have “certain privileges”.
They each have their own cell with a television with air conditioning, but they do share a bathroom with some of the other prisoners.
Ronaldinho has also been able to speak with his friends on WhatsApp, although he reserves most of his phone time for his family.
"He speaks with his mother every day in the evening," another source told ESPN. "She's one of Ronaldinho's big concerns."
Finally, the report says Ronaldinho has been spending time looking up flights between Asuncion and Rio de Janeiro.
Sources say he knows them by memory and will head straight to the airport if he receives permission to leave prison.
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