Ronaldinho: How Brazilian legend changed his life around after leaving prison


It was just fantastic seeing Ronaldinho back on a football pitch and smiling again.

The Brazilian legend appeared for Barcelona legends in an exhibition match against Real Madrid legends in Israel earlier this week.

Ronaldinho and his Barca side ended up losing 3-2 but you couldn’t wipe the smile off the 41-year-old’s face.

Ronaldinho lined up alongside the likes of Rivaldo, Javier Saviola and Deco and opened the scoring from the penalty spot before producing his trademark celebration.

He also smashed the crossbar with another brilliant effort before coming close with a long-range strike.

It was an absolute joy to see him back playing football.

But it hasn’t all been plain-sailing for Ronaldinho since his retirement.

The Brazilian legend spent 171 days in jail after being arrested in Paraguay along with his brother, Roberto de Assis Moreira, for forging passports.

Ronaldinho was behind bars for 32 days before being put on house arrest after he agreed to pay one million Brazilian reais (£140,566) in bail.


He was initially sentenced to six months of jail time.

There were also reports that the former Ballon d’Or winner had just £5 to his name and was believed to be “close to bankruptcy,” according to claims carried by The Sun.

However, according to the Brazilian edition of El Pais back in January, per AS, Ronaldinho earned more than 5 million Brazilian reais (£702,407) in the four months after leaving prison.

He achieved that with a number of smart business moves.



How Ronaldinho recovered from ‘bankruptcy’

Firstly, he helped promote Atlético Mineiro’s stadium – the club where he won the Copa Libertadores in 2013.

He also received the title of an honorary citizen in Belo Horizonte and decided to open a studio there to take a step into music. He recorded a music video with group Recayd Mob and rapper Djonga. The video reached one million views in less than a week with Ronaldinho being surrounded by women in bikinis.

He’s also launched his own brand of organic gin, named R-ONE. This bottle can be seen throughout the music video. It follows on from his first wine brand, ‘Vino de Campeones.’


He’s also featured in an advertising campaign for the travel application Buser where he appears, once again, with several women (have you spotted a theme?)

He was also the face of Betcris, a bookmaker with which he’s had a contract since 2019.

Ronaldinho also features heavily in e-sports, where he advertised Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) and FIFA. He even created his own team, R10 Team, which features in FIFA 21.


Despite his troubles, he’s remained Brazilian tourism ambassador and has met the president, Jair Bolsonaro, in person since his release from prison.

Meanwhile, a film about his football career was released called “Ronaldinho: The happiest man in the world.” It looks like a must-watch.

“A difficult stage is coming to an end, thank God. I have no words to thank you for all the care and support that I have received in recent months,” Ronaldinho wrote when he released the trailer for his film.

It’s great to see him back.

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