<
>

Ex-Brazil and Barcelona star Ronaldinho set to leave Paraguay after reaching plea deal

play
Where Ronaldinho ranks among the best players ever (2:31)

Ale Moreno reacts to Xavi's comments saying Ronaldinho was on par with Barcelona's Lionel Messi. (2:31)

Ronaldinho and his brother Roberto de Assis are close to being released from custody in Paraguay after their defence team agreed a plea bargain on Friday.

The public prosecutor's office in Paraguay asked to close the investigation against the two men and a judge will now schedule a final hearing to confirm the terms.

- Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
- What did you miss? The latest from Europe's top leagues

The plea bargain included a guilty plea from the two brothers for entering Paraguay with fake passports and fines of $90,000 and $110,000, respectively, for Ronaldinho and Roberto.

Roberto agreed to a criminal record in Paraguay, but Ronaldinho's record will be clean there.

The plea deal also stipulates that Ronaldinho can leave Brazil at any time, though he must tell Paraguayan officials how long he will be away. While Roberto is not permitted to leave Brazil for two years

The brothers must also present themselves to a federal judge in Brazil every three months during a period of two years.

"It was recognized by the public prosecutor's office that there is no crime of a financial or related nature in relation to Ronaldo and Roberto," said the brothers' lawyer, Sergio Queiroz, on Friday.

"After five long months, they have demonstrated exactly what we defended since the beginning: the use of altered public documents without the knowledge of the defendants."

The ex-Brazil and Barcelona forward was arrested in March for entering the country with a false passport. One month later, he and his brother paid $800,000 each in bail and were moved to a luxury hotel in the country's capital, Asunción, remaining under house arrest. They have been there ever since.

Ronaldinho told local authorities in a hearing that the passports were a gift from a Brazilian businessman, Wilmondes Sousa Liria, who was also jailed.

Last year, Ronaldinho had his Brazilian passport seized at home because of an investigation into alleged environmental crimes, but the document was returned to him in September 2019, and it is still not known why he did not enter Paraguay with his own passport.

Ronaldinho and his brother had faced up to five years in jail if convicted.