Brazil legend Ronaldinho has said he is still coming to grips with his arrest and time spent behind bars in Paraguay.
The Brazilian has given his first interview since the arrest to Paraguay's ABC TV's Crime and Punishment, a show that will air on Monday.
“It [going to jail] was a tough blow,” the 40-year-old said. “I never imagined that I would go through a situation like this.
“All of my life I have searched to reach the top level professionally and to bring joy with my football.
“I hope that they can use and confirm all that we have brought to this case and that we can come out of this situation as soon as possible.”
The ex-Barcelona star said in the show that he travelled to Paraguay to take part in the launch of an online casino and in the unveiling of a book Craque da Vida.
He and his brother cum manager, Roberto, entered the country on March 4 with false Paraguay passports that had been given to them as a gift.
“We were completely surprised to find out that the documents were not legal,” Ronaldinho said.
“Since then, our aim has been to cooperate with the justice [department] in order to clarify the facts as we have done from the beginning. Since that time up to now, we have explained everything and facilitated all that the justice [department] has requested.”
Ronaldinho, who is staying in a luxury suite at the Palmaroga hotel, has thanked the Paraguay people for their hospitality but is desperate to go home.
“The first thing I will do is to give my mother a big kiss,” he added. “She is at home going through a difficult time since the COVID-19 pandemic started.’’
Ronaldinho and his brother are awaiting trial, with a date having yet to be set due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago