Ronaldinho becomes Brazil’s new ambassador for tourism
Ronaldinho may not be able to leave Brazil at the moment but that hasn’t stopped the Barcelona great from being unveiled as one of his country’s new ambassadors.
The 39-year-old, who helped the Selecao win the World Cup in 2002, has had his passport seized due to an unpaid environmental fine and other debts.
The former two-time World Player of the Year and his brother were convicted of illegally building a fishing trap at Lake Guaiba in 2015 without proper licensing in a permanent preservation area.
As a result, the pair were handed a £6.9m fine in 2018 which so far remains unpaid, leading Brazil’s Superior Court of Justice to ban Ronaldinho from leaving the country.
However, the footballing icon is trying to make the most of his current situation, accepting a role to promote Brazil’s tourism. ‘Tourism is very important for generating jobs and regaining our image internationally,’ he said at his unveiling on Thursday.
Ronaldinho was also praised by the Brazilian Institute of Tourism’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Osvaldo Matos de Melo Junior. ‘You take the case of Ronaldinho, a person who has almost 100million followers in his networks and voluntarily helps us at no cost for patriotism. This attitude is invaluable,’ he said.
‘Just by issuing a visa to countries like the United States and Canada, we have already had over 200 per cent increase in demand for our country. We will increasingly invest, even in intelligence, to achieve our goals.’
Ronaldinho retired from football in 2015 after spells with a host of clubs in Brazil and Europe.